Scheidegger steals to win Canadian Open in GSOC debut

NORTH BATTLEFORD, Sask. — Casey Scheidegger is now 1-for-1 in the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling.

Scheidegger capped her incredible series debut at the Meridian Canadian Open winning the title by stealing a point in the eighth end for a 5-4 victory over Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni in Sunday’s final.

The Lethbridge, Alta., team of Scheidegger, third Cary-Anne McTaggart, second Jessie Scheidegger and lead Stephanie Enright earned $30,000 for the victory.

“It feels amazing,” Scheidegger said. “We’re just so excited. There isn’t much more to say, it was awesome.

“We’re a little bit shocked but that’s curling. Sometimes you get the breaks and we managed to do that. We played well all week so I can’t ask for anything more.”

Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., defeated Sweden’s Niklas Edin 8-3 to win the men’s title earlier Sunday. Enright’s brother Geoff Walker plays lead on Team Gushue making it a great day for their family.

“It’s kind of surreal,” Enright said. “I’m not really sure how to feel. I’m excited and in disbelief but it’s awesome.”

Tirinzoni, who was on a roll winning five straight to reach the final, opened with hammer and looked to blank the first but hit Scheidegger’s counter on the nose and had to settle for the one.

Scheidegger looked at two tight counters in the second, one buried, and kicked out the other to limit the damage to just a single steal but fall behind 2-0.

It was deja vu in the third end as Scheidegger looked to blank but came down on the beak to stay put for a point. The symmetry continued into the fourth as Tirinzoni aimed to make a double tap to boot out Scheidegger’s stone but her shooter didn’t get the right degree and only nudged it to concede a steal and tie it 2-2.

Scheidegger went ahead in the fifth as Tirinzoni tried to make a runback double to split out two counters but the raise stuck for another steal. Tirinzoni pulled back into the lead 5-3 with a wide in-turn draw to bite the button for shot rock and added another point following a measurement.

Scheidegger was forced to draw for one in the seventh landing right on the lid to set the stage for the thrilling final end.

Tirinzoni faced one biting the top of the four-foot circle with her last in eight and her draw came up light.

Scheidegger was the “giant slayer” at the Meridian Canadian Open also scoring wins over Rachel Homan, Jennifer Jones and Val Sweeting during the event. The series changed the qualification process for the event this season — from pure Order of Merit to splitting invites between OOM and year-to-date — allowing Scheidegger to earn a spot via YTD thanks to three title victories on the World Curling Tour.

“We’re lucky that they did that,” said Scheidegger, who is currently ranked 22nd on the OOM and 10th on the YTD. “It’s an excellent opportunity for teams like ourselves that have really good years to be able to compete with the elite.”

The victory ensures Scheidegger will play in at least one more Pinty’s GSOC event as she has now qualified for the season-ending Humpty’s Champions Cup taking place in Calgary at the end of April.

“That’s so exciting for us,” Scheidegger said. “We wanted to do Grand Slams for years but it’s sometimes hard to break through. This is a great event where the year-to-dates get to come so that was huge for us and we knew we had to show well so we could possibly get into other Slams in the future.”

Tirinzoni was playing her second consecutive Grand Slam final with super spare Cathy Overton-Clapham filling in at third for Manuela Siegrist, who is out following knee surgery. Overton-Clapham has made it to four Grand Slam finals as a spare over the past couple seasons winning the 2014 Masters with Val Sweeting, the 2016 Players’ Championship with Eve Muirhead plus the runner-up finish at the Boost National with Tirinzoni.

NOTES: The Meridian Canadian Open is the fourth event and third major of the 2016-17 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season. … The next event on the Pinty’s GSOC schedule is the Princess Auto Elite 10 running March 16-19 in Port Hawkesbury, N.S. … Gushue also cashed in $30,000 with his seventh GSOC title victory and clinched a berth to the Humpty’s Champions Cup.

Article Written by Jonathan Brazeau of Sportsnet