Brad Jacobs shoots a stone during the 10th draw of the Pinty's Grand Slam of Curling Tour Challenge in Regina. (Anil Mungal)

Jacobs fends off Shuster in Tour Challenge quarters

September 9, 2017, 8:39 PM

REGINA — It was a close call for Brad Jacobs, but the reigning Olympic champion came through in the extra end to eliminate American John Shuster 10-8 during the Tour Challenge men’s quarterfinals Saturday.

The Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., native Jacobs advances to the evening semifinals and plays Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L.

Jacobs built a 5-0 lead in the first. Shuster fell into trouble and flashed through the house on his last allowing Jacobs to make the easy open hit for his five count.

Shuster took two in the second, but Jacobs got a single in three and a steal in four to regain the five-point advantage and lead 7-2.

That’s when things took a dramatic turn. Shuster settled for a single in five but stole three in the sixth to cut the deficit big time as Jacobs was looking at four counters and was a little heavy on the angle raise tap.

Jacobs was held to one in the seventh and Shuster scored another deuce in eight to send it to an extra end. Shuster’s last was just a tad too close to his other rock and Jacobs blasted them both out of the house to secure his spot in the semifinals.

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Meanwhile, Gushue stole two in the extra end to eliminate Saskatoon’s Steve Laycock 7-5.

Gushue struggled early giving up a steal of two in the second and one in the third to trail 3-0. A deuce in the fourth for Gushue narrowed the gap to one. The teams exchanged singles in five and six and Laycock was held to one in seven to lead 5-3 heading into the eighth, but without the hammer.

The seven-time Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling title winner Gushue scored a deuce in eight to force an extra end and swiped the victory in OT as Laycock was heavy on his last and rolled past the two counters untouched.

The other men’s semifinal sees reigning champion Niklas Edin of Sweden go up against Norway’s Steffen Walstad.

Edin drew to the button in the eighth to oust Toronto’s John Epping 5-4 while Walstad crushed Pat Simmons and his Winnipeg-based team 11-4.

The women’s semifinals feature Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones against Edmonton’s Val Sweeting and Scotland’s Eve Muirhead versus Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg. Watch on Sportsnet and Sportsnet ONE at 9:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. local time).

NOTES: The Tour Challenge is the season-opening event of the 2017-18 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling calendar and runs through to Sunday at the Co-operators Centre at Evraz Place. … Winners of the Tier 1 division receive invites to the season-ending Pinty’s GSOC event, the Humpty’s Champions Cup, running April 24-29 in Calgary. … Winners of the Tier 2 division earn berths to the following Pinty’s GSOC event, the Masters, taking place Oct. 24-29 in Lloydminster, Sask.