Martin prevails in curling's National final
Edmonton rink takes home $24,000 after 5-3 win over Stoughton
Kevin Martin certainly wouldn't categorize his latest curling achievement as one of the smoothest performances of his career.
But like the Olympic champion he is, the Edmonton skip did enough when it counted the most, capturing the final Grand Slam title of the calendar year by besting Winnipeg's Jeff Stoughton 5-3 in the final of The Swiss Chalet National in Vernon, B.C., on Sunday.
"I'm ready for a break," said Martin, who improved his career record to 27-18 against Stoughton, a two-time Brier champion. "2010 was just an amazing year for our team, and to finish it off like that, it's a dream."
Martin and his rink of John Morris, Marc Kennedy and Ben Hebert earned $24,000.
Perhaps Martin will use a small percentage of his winnings on dinner for Kennedy and Hebert, who often bailed out their teammate whose game wasn't up to snuff at the second Grand Slam event of the season.
In the fourth end Sunday, Martin threw a soft in-turn and his brushers leaped into gear as the stone squeaked by a guard.
Martin also threw tight on his final throw, urging his sweepers on as his rock just cleared the guard.
"I don't know how anyone can win a Slam throwing it that bad," said Jon Mead, the third player for Stoughton. "It's all brushing, it really is."
Martin took a 2-1 lead with a deuce in the fourth end and added a steal in the fifth. Stoughton replied with two in the sixth and held Martin to a single in the seventh to trail 4-3.
The Winnipeg skip had a makeable triple-takeout for two points and the win in the final end but failed to convert. His squad of Mead, Reid Carruthers and Steve Gould cashed $17,000 for second place.
On Friday, Martin misfired on a double-takeout for the win, dropping a 5-3 decision to Stoughton, who had gone 12 meetings without upending his rival dating back to November 2007.
Martin rebounded for a playoff berth and downed Sweden's Niklas Edin 9-6 in the quarter-finals, stealing a point in the third end for a 3-2 lead and then grabbing a big four-count in the fifth.
A 6-5 semifinal win over Toronto's Wayne Middaugh followed on Saturday night, while Stoughton outlasted Ontario's Glenn Howard to advance to the final.
The next Grand Slam of Curling event is Jan. 26 at General Motors Centre in Oshawa, Ont.
With files from The Canadian Press