Howard defeats Martin to win GSOC Masters title

The team of Glenn Howard, Wayne Middaugh, Brent Laing and Craig Savill celebrate with the Grand Slam of Curling Masters title.

Glenn Howard fired an incredible raised takeout to score four and defeated Edmonton’s Kevin Martin to win his sixth career Grand Slam of Curling Masters championship Sunday in Abbotsford, B.C.

Howard’s slash shot broke open a 2-2 tie game in the fifth and the native of Penetanguishene, Ont., went on to win 7-4 after Martin ran out of rocks in the eighth end.

The rink of Howard, Wayne Middaugh, Brent Laing and Craig Savill ran the table at the tournament with a perfect 7-0 record and are heating up at just the right time with the Canadian Olympic trials taking place next month in Winnipeg.

Howard didn’t get off on the right foot as he couldn’t believe his final rock in the opening end wasn’t able to clear Martin’s stone out of the house and he gave up a steal of one. He blanked the second end and nailed a raised takeout to score a deuce in the third.

Martin tied it up with a single in the fourth end. Howard had four stones in the house but Martin held the hammer and placed his final rock in the four-foot to settle for one.

After Howard’s four score to lead 6-2, Martin cut the deficit in half with a deuce in the sixth but Howard added a single in the seventh with a hit-and-stick final shot.

Howard has won six of the last eight Masters titles, including four in a row from 2006-09.

Howard and his team now aim to defend the Canadian Open title (Nov. 13-17 in Medicine Hat, Alta.) during the second leg of the Grand Slam circuit in his pursuit of the $1-million bonus if his rink sweeps all four events.

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