Jennifer Jones shoots a stone during the 12th draw of the Pinty's Grand Slam of Curling Tour Challenge in Regina. (Anil Mungal)

Jones secures spot in Tour Challenge playoffs

September 8, 2017, 5:49 PM

REGINA — Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones is through to the quarterfinals of the Tour Challenge.

Jones chased away Casey Scheidegger of Lethbridge, Alta., 8-4 during the final women’s round-robin draw Friday afternoon at the Co-operators Centre at Evraz Place.

It was a lot closer than the scoreboard showed with Scheidegger holding the hammer coming home in eight, down by two and looking to make a double for a deuce but missed both counters.

“It was definitely a back-and-forth game,” Team Jones lead Dawn McEwen said. “Some shots missed and some great shots made so it was exciting for the fans and for the players. All in all, we came out on the right side so it was a good result.”

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The see-saw match should have started in Scheidegger’s favour as she opened with the hammer, but it was Jones who struck the board first stealing one in the first. It went from bad to worse for Scheidegger in the second as she faced three and crashed on a guard to fall in a 4-0 hole.

Scheidegger had an opportunity to hit and stick for two in the third, but rolled out and had to settle for a single. Jones was heavy on the draw in four allowing Scheidegger to steal one and cut the deficit to 4-2 heading into the break.

After Jones stuck for a point in five, Scheidegger hit and rolled in for two points in the sixth to narrow the gap 5-4. Jones had one in hand in seven and looked to collect another, but was heavy again on the draw.

Scheidegger (1-3) had the hammer coming home in eight but couldn’t pull off the “Hackner double” to force an extra end and was eliminated from playoff contention.

“We’ve been looking forward to getting back on the ice as a foursome,” said McEwen, who competed in the Everest Curling Challenge and Canad Inns Mixed Doubles events. “It’s funny, it kind of feels like mid-season in a way and now we’re playing together but it’s a lot of fun. We’re just excited the season is starting and grind away from here on out.”

Jones faces Jacqueline Harrison of Mississauga, Ont., in the quarterfinals.

Meanwhile, Scotland’s Eve Muirhead (2-2) earned a must-win 7-6 victory stealing in the extra end to eliminate Ottawa’s Rachel Homan (1-3).

Muirhead actually had a chance to win it in the eighth with the hammer and a pair of points in her pocket already, but her last shot wrecked on a guard.

Homan misfired on her first skip stone in the extra and Muirhead guarded to shut the front door and make the draw difficult. The six-time Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling title winner Homan got her rock through the hole and rubbed but didn’t roll in close enough to count for shot stone.

Muirhead now meets Julie Tippin of Woodstock, Ont., in the evening tiebreaker draw with the winner set to face top-seed Alina Paetz (4-0) in the quarters.

Elsewhere in Draw 12, Harrison (2-2) stayed in the tournament following a 6-1 win over China’s Bingyu Wang. Harrison broke a 1-1 tie in the third with a point and then slid away with single steals in four and five and stole two more in seven. Wang has been eliminated with a 1-3 record.

Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni (3-1) also qualified by cruising to a 7-1 victory against Tracy Fleury (0-4) of Sudbury, Ont. Tirinzoni scored a deuce in the second, limited Fleury to one in the third and counted another couple in four to lead 4-1 at the break. The 2015 Tour Challenge winner Tirinzoni stole a pair in six and one in six to bring out handshakes.

Tirinzoni will play Anna Hasselborg of Sweden in the quarterfinals.

Allison Flaxey of Caledon went out on a high note with a commanding 7-1 win over Sherry Middaugh of Coldwater in an all-Ontario battle. Flaxey opened with the hammer, scored two in the first and then rode away stealing one in the second, two in the third and another point in four. Middaugh got on the board with a single in five to break the shutout, but Flaxey matched in six and the teams shook hands. Both teams are done with 1-3 records.

Edmonton’s Val Sweeting (4-0) goes up against Michelle Englot’s Winnipeg team (2-2) in the fourth and final quarterfinal match.

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.