North America cruised to a 37-23 victory over the World squad on the final day of the World Financial Group Continental Cup.
North America went into the final skins session Sunday at the Ryder Cup-inspired curling tournament with a 26.8-18.5 advantage, a deficit that proved too big for World to overcome in the 60-point competition.
World edged North America 8-7 in the first session, but were blown out 10.5-4.5 in the second session on the strength of three straight wins by Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones, Edmonton’s Kevin Martin and Glenn Howard of Coldwater, Ont.
“I’m just ecstatic,” said Howard, who sealed the victory with a three-point skin in the sixth end of his game against World’s Thomas Ulsrud of Norway to set off a celebration with his teammates.
“We had a terrific game, curling wise, and getting along-wise we had so many great times. You feel part of a bigger team, 24 players instead of just four and it’s that what’s more satisfying, playing for a bigger team.”
North America’s team, which also included Americans Heath McCormick and Allison Pottinger, Edmonton’s Heather Nedohin, captain Kelley Law of Coquitlam, B.C., and coach Rick Lang of Thunder Bay, Ont., received $52,000 ($2,000 per member), as well as a $13,000 bonus for winning the most points from the final three skins games.
“It was so fun to win today. I pretty much could tell you every shot that was played on the other sheets,” said Jones. “It was really exciting to watch, and when Glenn made that shot, it was crazy, it was super fun.”
World’s team, coached by Sweden’s Peja Lindholm, captained by Scotland’s David Hay and including Scotland’s Tom Brewster, Eve Muirhead, Niklas Edin and Margaretha Sigfridsson and Mirjam Ott of Switzerland, settled for the runner-up prize of $26,000, ($1,000 per member).
“We just didn’t play too well,” said Hay. “In a few games we failed in pretty much the last end with several of our last shots and you just can’t afford to do that. These guys played very well. It just wasn’t to be our week. We weren’t a mile off the pace, just a fraction ... the North Americans played exceptionally well here. They deserved to win.”
Both sides have won the tournament four times since the first event in 2002. Next year’s event will be held in Las Vegas.