Asked if she had a game-plan for Sunday’s Prestige Hotel Curling Classic women’s final against Switzerland’s Mirjam Ott, Bingyu (Betty) Wang smiled.
“It’s a secret,” laughed the amiable Chinese skip who defeated Ott 5-4 in a battle of former world champions Sunday at the Vernon Curling Club. “We just tried to play to our level and play our best.”
After picking up a single with the hammer in the opening end, Wang increased her lead to 3-0 in the second when Ott’s final stone picked after catching some debris, allowing the Chinese rink to steal a deuce.
The teams exchanged single points in the third and fourth ends, and Ott pulled to within one at 4-3 in the fifth by calmly drawing to the button with her final stone for one sure point.
A measurement against two Wang stones was needed to determine a second point for Ott, who won the world title in 2012.
Wang, the 2009 world champ, scored a single in the sixth. After a blank in seven, the match came down to the last rock in the last end. Ott was laying one and needed to pick a Wang stone out of the four-foot to score a deuce and send the match to an extra end. But Ott’s final stone sailed through the house.
Wang, who lost the 2008 Ford women’s world championship to Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg at Kal Tire Place, picked up $9,000 for the win. Her rink went undefeated in the four-day cashspiel.
“Vernon is good for us and it’s a good start to the year for us,” said Wang. “Every year we come here to play, we know it here, we know there’s lots of good teams and good curlers here. This year is a hard year as it’s a qualifying year for the Olympics so this was good experience for us.”
Ott pocketed $6,500 for finishing second, the first time her rink has reached the final in Vernon.
“We’re pretty happy that we came so far this time,” said Ott shortly after the defeat. “We struggled a little bit in the beginning. My last rock had the pick in the second end and they stole two, then it was hard to get ahead because they were shooting very well. It’s tough to come back against a good team like that.”
Sunday was playoff day for the eight qualifying rinks.
Wang advanced to the championship with a 7-3 quarterfinal victory over current world champ Eve Muirhead of Scotland, then prevented an all-Swiss final with a 6-5 semifinal win over Michele Jaggi of Bern.
Ott’s Davos-based quartet beat Kelowna’s Kelly Scott 7-6 in the morning quarterfinals, then reached the championship match with a 5-4 decision over the top qualifier, Stefanie Lawton of Saskatoon.
Semifinalists collected $5,000 while those making it to the quarterfinals won $3,000 each.
Vernon’s Robbi Kuhn went 1-3 in the cashspiel.
Kuhn, supported by third Karla Thompson, second Brooklyn Leitch and lead Michelle Ramsay, opened with a 5-3 loss to Muirhead.
The Vernon foursome bounced back to defeat Allison Pottinger of Minnestoa 7-5 before being eliminated with a 6-2 loss to Russia’s Anna Sidorova, and a 7-3 setback to Amber Holland of Regina.