Redemption for Martin?

CON GRIWKOWSKY -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

Kevin Martin fell short of his bid to get into the 2005 provincials, but his team has almost clinched a spot in the 2006 provincials.

"Isn't it ironic?" said Martin's third, Don Walchuk, mulling over the possibility.

Martin's big goal, of course, is to get to Halifax in December where his team would get a chance to defend its title at the Olympic Trials.

He could score a double if he maintains his lead in the Canadian Team Ranking System.

"This is big for us," said Martin, when he qualified for a Canada Cup spot at the Canada Cup West event at the Saville Centre in December.

His closest point rival, Glenn Howard, did not qualify for the playoff round in the Canada Cup East.

"So, we have a chance to get enough points in Kamloops (March 15-20) that he may not be able to catch us at the end of the season," said Martin.

A win in Kamloops would give Martin an automatic Trials berth.

Martin's next stop is the $100,000 Canadian Open in Winnipeg, starting tomorrow.

How much money Martin can earn in that Grand Slam event, the $150,000 Tour Championship (March 23-27) and the Canada Cup, will be his fall-back position.

Martin could get to the 2006 provincial in one of several ways.

Since third-ranked Alberta team John Morris cannot catch Martin, even if Morris wins the Brier, all Martin would have to do is outearn Morris in the remaining three major events.

Morris qualified for this year's provincial at Innisfail as the top 2004 CTRS team after beating Martin in last year's Tour Championship.

If Randy Ferbey wins his fifth straight Alberta title, Martin would be in.

That's because Ferbey would come back as defending champ and Martin would claim a spot as the top CTRS team not already qualified.

If Ferbey cannot defend his title, it comes down to who outearns who down the stretch - and Ferbey would certainly have a lot of ground (25 points) to make up.


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