Boehmer bounced

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

SELKIRK -- The Phil Mickelson of Manitoba curling will have to wait at least another year to shed his label.

Dave Boehmer's infamous title as the best skip never to have won a major championship is safe, after the No. 3 seed was unceremoniously eliminated from the Safeway Select here yesterday.

The loss continues a decade-long trend that resembles the years of frustration felt by Mickelson, golf's perennial runner-up in major tournaments until he broke through, winning last year's Masters.

DIDN'T MAKE THE CUT

Trying to fashion his own breakthrough, Boehmer instead didn't even make the cut, dropping back-to-back games -- 7-4 to No. 14 seed Terry McNamee of Brandon and 8-7 to Portage la Prairie's Don Spriggs, the sixth seed.

"Very disappointed," Boehmer said. "I felt really good coming into this, probably the best I've ever felt for a provincial. And it ended up one of the worst."

The eighth-ranked team on the World Curling Tour, Boehmer, supported by Pat Spiring, Richard Daneault and Don Harvey, guesses it was at least his 10th swing at the provincial men's title. And easily his worst shank.

"I've always been .500 or better, so this is pretty bad," he said. "We fell behind early and tried to play catch-up the rest of the game. That's not the way to play. We're a lot better team when we're in front. We all like to hit."

All they'll hit now is the road, and the Players Championship, the final Grand Slam event of the season, in Newfoundland in late March.

FIRST UPSET

Boehmer's ouster marked the first major upset of the Select, as the top two seeds, Jeff Stoughton and Kerry Burtnyk, improved to 2-0 without so much as breaking a sweat.

Stoughton, the favourite to win his fifth provincial crown, defeated Doug Harrison of St. Vital, 9-4, while Burtnyk, also with four titles under his belt, handled Petersfield's Peter Pruden, 10-2.

"We came out with another solid effort today," Burtnyk said. "And we were a little bit fortunate that we caught those guys struggling a little bit, compared to how they played (Wednesday). But it's win No. 2, and it was a big game, because now we've got two chances to qualify for the final eight."

Joining the top seeds at 2-0 were defending champion Brent Scales and his fourth-ranked Swan River squad, No. 5 James Kirkness, ninth-seeded Randy Dutiaume, Terry McNamee of Brandon, Elmwood's Peter Nicholls and Blaine Gogal of Flin Flon.

They all need just one win from two games today to earn a spot in the eight-team qualifying round, which begins tonight.

Stoughton couldn't believe his good fortune when Harrison, facing five Stoughton counters, was heavy with an attempted draw in the first end.

"You never think it's going to happen," Stoughton said of the early lead. "When you get five up ... you're just ripping guards and peeling, and hopefully you don't give up the big end. It definitely changes how you play the game, that's for sure."

Last night's draw saw Pruden stay alive by eliminating No. 7 Murray Warren of Deloraine, 9-1, while eighth seed Chris Galbraith defeated Harrison 6-4 eliminating him.


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