Don Walchuk of Sherwood Park, Alta., picked up two wins Thursday at the WCT's curling Masters in Waterloo, Ont.
Walchuk, seeded 14th in the event, was in control of his afternoon showdown with Winnipeg's Jeff Stoughton until the seventh end.
With a 5-3 lead and the hammer, Walchuk suddenly found himself down to the last rock with four Stoughton rocks clustered around the four foot.
Using his own rock in the eight-foot, Walchuk made a delicate hit and roll to the back four to score his point.
"It wasn't looking very good there for a while," Walchuk said. "But I made a good shot with my last one."
Walchuk knocked off Sherwood Park's Randy Ferbey 7-5 in his other match.
Walchuk, 43, was a third for Edmonton's Kevin Martin for more than a decade and, before that, played second for Pat Ryan with Ferbey as vice.
Martin, a two-time Brier champion and Olympic silver medallist in 2002, decided youth was the way to go and the team parted ways after last season.
Walchuk had wanted to try skipping again, a position he hasn't held since losing the Alberta provincial to Calgary's Ed Lukowich back in 1994.
He knew there would be a learning curve.
"It takes a bit of patience to try to get some positive attitude, get some confidence, " said Walchuk. "It's taken a little bit of time."
Walchuk has no hard feelings over the breakup of a team.
He realized Martin wanted to pursue the Olympics and had decided to go with youth.
But Walchuk believes he can still compete.
"I plan to hang around and see how it goes this year," he said. "I believe I am still young enough to play in Vancouver, if the cards fall right for me.
"At this point in time, it is a goal for me as well."
Walchuk is actually here without his regular vice Brent MacDonald, who hails from St. Albert, Alta., so picked up former Martin lead, Don Bartlett of Edmonton, to fill in.
Warren Hassall and Brendan Melnyk of Smoky Lake, Alta., play front end.
Howard had a relative easy time notching his second win scoring one in the second, then stealing two, then three against Bob Ursell to win 6-0.
In other Draw 3 scores: Winnipeg's Kerry Burtnyk scored a 5-3 victory over Scotland's Tom Brewster; Mark Johnson of Markdale, Ont., won 6-3 over American Pete Fenson; Wayne Middaugh 6-1 over Brad Gushue of St. John's, N.L.
In Draw 2 scores, it was Koe 5, Johnson 3; Adams 9, Ursel 3; Simmons 7, Menard 5; Martin 7, John Base of Oakville, Ont.,1.