Anna Hasselborg wins Tour Challenge to earn 3rd career GSOC title

Team Hasselborg are champions after taking down Team Einarson at the 2019 Kioti Tractor Tour Challenge.

PICTOU COUNTY, N.S. — Call it a tre kronor as Anna Hasselborg and her squad from Sundbyberg, Sweden, captured their third Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling title.

The reigning Olympic gold medallists took home the KIOTI Tractor Tour Challenge Tier 1 women’s championship with an 8-5 victory over Team Kerri Einarson of Gimli, Man., in Sunday’s final.

Hasselborg, third Sara McManus, second Agnes Knochenhauer and lead Sofia Mabergs collected $30,000, 12 Pinty’s Cup points plus a berth in the season-ending Humpty’s Champions Cup.

“It feels amazing,” said Hasselborg, who won her first couple GSOC titles back-to-back last season at the Elite 10 and Masters. “We’ve been playing a lot of close games this week, but I think we’ve had the learning mode being better for all of the games every time.

“From quarters to semis to final, we have been rising and climbing. It’s so special to win the third, that is huge. It really feels special.”

McManus took it one step further saying it was “freakin’ amazing.”

“It was so much fun,” she said. “I am so proud of the girls. They played so well, especially Agnes. She made some really nice runbacks. It felt like it was our game today.”

Three was also the magic number in the match. Hasselborg drew for three points in the third and drained another trey in the sixth to hold a 7-3 advantage with only two ends to play.

Einarson, who topped Hasselborg in last season’s Players’ Championship final, wasn’t finished. Hasselborg’s last of the seventh sailed clear through the house on a hit attempt allowing Einarson to a draw for a deuce that cut the deficit in half.

Still, Hasselborg held the hammer coming home up by two points. Einarson was able to sit a couple of counters and force Hasselborg to throw her last, however, with nowhere to hide it was just an easy open hit that iced the game.

Team Hasselborg finished with a 6-1 record in the tournament. Their lone blemish came against reigning world champions Team Silvana Tirinzoni in an 8-1 rout during pool play.

“We had a rough game, it was a bad game, that happens and then you move on,” McManus said. “We tried to learn from it.”

Meanwhile, South Korea’s Team Min-Ji Kim sprinted to a 9-2 victory in only five ends over Team Jestyn Murphy of Mississauga, Ont., to win the Tier 2 title. Team Kim earned $10,000 plus a promotion to the elite ranks in the 2020 Meridian Canadian Open with airfare and accommodation covered.

Later, Team Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., scored three in the seventh and held off Team Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., 6-4 to successfully defend the Tier 1 men’s title. Team Korey Dropkin of the United States edged Team Tanner Horgan of Winnipeg Beach, Man., 5-4 in the Tier 2 men’s final.

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