LLOYDMINSTER, Sask. — Jennifer Jones remained perfect to the end at the Masters to capture her record eighth Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling women’s title.
The reigning Olympic champion from Winnipeg completed an undefeated 7-0 run clipping Kerri Einarson of East St. Paul 6-5 in Sunday’s all-Manitoba final.
The team of Jones, third Kaitlyn Lawes, second Jill Officer and lead Dawn McEwen earned $30,000 and secured a spot in the season-ending Humpty’s Champions Cup running April 24-29 in Calgary.
“It feels amazing,” Jones said. “We just love playing in the Slams and felt we had a really great event, so it was nice to end with a win for sure.”
“It’s so tough. The events are so hard and I was really happy with how we performed,” she added. “We had a couple of rocky moments but came through with a big shot when we needed it. All-in-all, I’m pretty happy and it’s nice to qualify for the Champions Cup.”
Einarson also entered the final on fire riding a six-game winning streak and was sharp on the draw pinning the pre-game shootout to earn hammer to start. She couldn’t quite capitalize though. Already sitting shot rock in a crowded house, Einarson drew with her last, clicking off of Jones’ stone in the four-foot circle and resting close by. A measurement gave the second shot to Jones.
The measuring stick made another appearance in the second although this time it went in the favour of the hammer-holding team as Jones hit to score two and pull ahead.
Einarson misses a chance for a deuce again in the third but tied it splitting up the rings, hitting and rolling out on her last.
Another quick draw from Einarson with a come-around to land on the lid in four held up for a steal and a 3-2 advantage with a row of guards blocking entry. Jones promoted a guard but not at the right angle.
The game-changer came in the fifth after Einarson misses the back one of a double takeout attempt and Jones cashed in with a razor-thin hit by the guards for three to retake the lead 5-3.
“With the five-rock rule, a three is always in play,” Jones said. “Even when we gave up the steal it was kind of a victory in the sense we weren’t looking good in that end. I think we’re pretty happy with the result.”
A steal in six for Jones extended her lead and Einarson was unable to draw for two in the seventh to only get one.
It wasn’t quite a victory lap for Jones in the eighth as Einarson took her to the final rock of the game. Einarson sat three counters, but Jones just needed to make an open nose hit to concede one and ice the match.
“It was an open hit so I should make that,” Jones said. “It’s always nicer to make it against two than three but I had just threw it on my first one so I felt pretty good.”
The team of Einarson, third Selena Kaatz, second Liz Fyfe and lead Kristin MacCuish won their second career Tour Challenge Tier 2 title in September to qualify for a berth in the Masters.
Earlier, Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., downed Sweden’s Niklas Edin 8-4 to capture his ninth career Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling men’s championship. It’s the second consecutive title in the series for Gushue with an undefeated record too after capturing the Tour Challenge Tier 1 in September.