Jim Cotter’s Vernon-Kelowna rink collected $6,000 for a quarterfinals appearance at the Canadian Open of Curling Saturday afternoon at Prospera Place in Kelowna.
Supported by third Jason Gunnlaugson, second Ty Griffith and lead Rick Sawatsky, Cotter reached the final eight with a 6-3 tiebreaker win over Harriston, Ont.’s Jake Higgs Saturday morning. They fell 7-2 to eventual winner Glenn Howard of Coldwater, Ont. that afternoon.
“We had kind of a slow start to the season for qualifying, but the last few events it’s been a lot steadier,” said Cotter.
“To make a final (Rogers Masters) and quarterfinal in the last two, you take a lot of positives from that.”
Cotter trailed 3-2 after five ends, but conceded after giving up four in six.
“We were forced to gamble and try to steal one,” said Cotter. “There’s no sense in trying to lose by one.”
Facing three Howard stones on his final shot in six, Cotter ticked a guard.
“If it gets by we’re probably in good position, but it’s Glenn Howard so you never know,” said Cotter.
Howard, who last won the event in 2009, added $25,000 to his season winning by grounding Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie 3-1 in an ultra-defensive championship game. Jacobs pocketed $13,000.
The Ontario skip ran the table to finish the Open at 8-0.
“It was nice to get back to playing well after a slow start to the Slam series,” Howard told Sportsnet.
“After missing the playoffs at The Masters it feels great to bounce back and get the major win here in Kelowna.”
Howard, as well as The Rogers Masters winner Kevin Koe of Calgary, are eligible to split an additional $100,000 purse as one of the top three men’s teams competing in the 2012-13 Grand Slam of Curling.
The next slam event is The National, Jan. 23-27, in Port Hawkesbury, N.S., followed by The Players’ Championship, April 16-21, in Toronto.