Morning Star Staff
A year ago, Jim Cotter was in the Tier 2 portion of the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling’s Tour Challenge event in Newfoundland, which the Vernon skip won.
This year, Cotter is up in the $100,000 Tier 1 event, being played at Western Financial Place in Cranbrook, and not missing a beat.
Cotter, throwing skip rocks for John Morris, with the front end of Tyrel Griffith (second) and Rick Sawatsky (lead), opened the Challenge with an 8-4 win over defending champion Kevin Koe of Calgary.
Morris jumped out to a 3-0 lead after two ends, only to see Koe tie it after four.
With Morris holding on to a 5-4 lead after six ends, the veteran skip put the match away with three in the seventh end.
The Vernon rink then took on 2014 Olympic gold medalist Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie and came away with a 6-5 win, picking up the winning point with the hammer in the final end.
Morris again jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the first two ends, only to watch Jacobs come back and tie it up after four ends. The teams then exchanged deuces with a blank end in between in the sixth end.
Morris/Cotter took on 2014 world champion Thomas Ulsrud of Norway late Thursday afternoon, and finishes the preliminary round today against Scotland’s David Murdoch.
The Tour Challenge field features a total of 30 men’s and 30 women’s teams split into two tiers with 15 teams participating in each tier. These tiers are then split into three pools of five teams each for round-robin play. The winners of the Tier 1 event receive invitations to Champions Cup, the final event of the season and showcases all of the winners from major events in curling.