Walker tops Robertson to get back on track at GSOC Tour Challenge

Laura Walker in action at the Tour Challenge on Nov. 7, 2018, in Thunder Bay, Ont. (Anil Mungal)

THUNDER BAY, Ont. — Edmonton’s Team Laura Walker improved to a 2-1 round-robin record at the Tour Challenge.

Walker got back on track with a 5-4 victory over Winnipeg’s Team Darcy Robertson during Thursday morning’s draw at Tournament Centre.

Team Walker topped hometown heroes Team Krista McCarville 8-2 in Tuesday’s opener and lost to Team Tracy Fleury of East St. Paul, Man., 8-3 Wednesday. The foursome featuring Walker, third Cathy Overton-Clapham, second Lori Olson-Johns and lead Laine Peters have one pool play game remaining against provincial rivals Team Casey Scheidegger from Lethbridge on Friday.

Walker leaped into the lead with a deuce in three to make it 2-1. After another lone point for Robertson in four, Walker took two more in the fifth to double up 4-2. Robertson erased the deficit settling for a single in six and stealing in seven to tie it up heading into the final frame.

Walker didn’t need to make a heroic winner, however, as she already sat shot rock prior to her last and Robertson was unable to tap her own in closer clipping her top rock instead.

Meanwhile, Team Nina Roth of Chaska, U.S., moved up to a 2-0 record with a 6-2 victory over Sweden’s Team Isabella Wrana (2-1).

In men’s play, Team Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., continued their rebound from a winless Canadian Beef Masters performance to pick up their second win of the Tour Challenge. Jacobs (2-0) took two in the eighth to top Winnipeg’s Team Braden Calvert 5-3. The two-time Canadian junior champion Calvert fell to a 0-3 record.

Scotland’s Team Ross Paterson scored four in the fifth and doubled up on Team Jason Gunnlaugson of Morris, Man., 8-4. Paterson drew level to a 1-1 record and Gunnlaugson dropped to 0-2. Switzerland’s Peter de Cruz brushed aside Winnipeg’s Team Reid Carruthers 8-3. De Cruz climbed to 2-0 while Carruthers slipped to 0-2.

The Tour Challenge is the third event of the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season and features the largest field in the series with 60 teams split into two tiers of action. Tier 1 includes 15 of the top men’s teams and 15 of the top women’s teams from around the world. Both Tier 2 divisions are composed of the next 10 teams ranked on the World Curling Tour’s Order of Merit plus five teams from within the event’s region.

Round-robin play runs through to Friday night with the top eight teams overall in each division qualifying for Saturday’s quarterfinals. The semifinals are set for Saturday evening with all finals scheduled for Sunday.

Tier 2 results to come.

NOTES: Winners of the Tour Challenge Tier 1 earn $25,000 of the $200,000 total purse plus berths to the season-ending Humpty’s Champions Cup event. … Points are also up for grabs in the Tier 1 division towards the Pinty’s Cup, which is awarded to season champions following the conclusion of the Players’ Championship in April. … Tier 2 winners earn the opportunity to move up the ranks receiving invitations to the 2019 Meridian Canadian Open in North Battleford, Sask.

UP NEXT: The Tour Challenge resumes at 11:30 a.m. ET with broadcast coverage on Sportsnet and online at Sportsnet NOW (Canada) and Yare (international).

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