Gunnlaugson, Simmons Post Opening Victories
Third seed Jason Gunnlaugson and his Granite team (Alex Forrest, Ian McMillan, Connor Njegovan) and fourth seed Pat Simmons, also from Granite, (Colton Lott, Kyle Doering, Rob Gordon) have both won their openers at the 2018 Viterra Men’s Curling Championship in Winkler.
Gunnlaugson ousted Travis Graham (Burntwood-Thompson) in five ends while Simmons was a six-end victor of Brandon Radford (Swan River).
In an upset on the noon draw in Winkler, former World Junior Champion Braden Calvert (Deer Lodge) gave up five points in the first three ends and was beaten 9-2 in seven ends by Darryl Friesen (St. Vital). Friesen was one of the final three entrants to the championship, winning a berth through the recent Manitoba Open Bonspiel.
The first extra end match of the championship saw former World Senior silver medalist Randy Neufeld (Portage) score a four on the eighth end to overcome a four point deficit against former Manitoba Traveler’s Men’s club champion Andrew Wickman (Fort Rouge). The teams traded single points on the final two ends to force the extra. To build that lead, Wickman had stolen three single points but on the eleventh, it was Neufeld who was able to steal for an 8-7 victory.
In the final game on the noon draw, Kelly Marnoch (Carberry) and Daniel Birchard (Pembina) were tied 6-6 coming home. Birchard used last rock advantage to score four and a 10-6 win.
The Viterra championship continues at 4pm when defending champion and top seed Mike McEwen (Fort Rouge) takes on veteran Merv Satterthwaite (St. Vital) who also earned his berth through the Manitoba Open Bonspiel.