Martin wins Lloydminster

CON GRIWKOWSKY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:26 AM ET

LLOYDMINSTER -- For the second time this year, Kevin Martin can say he finally did it.

Hard to tell what the skip of the world's No. 1 team was most happy about this weekend.

Finally winning the Wayside Inn Classic in his 20th try.

Getting into this first final by confirming his dominance over David Murdoch, the Scottish skip he beat to win his first world championship back in April.

Or the fact that he's about to pass Glenn Howard on the World Curling Tour money list and the Canadian Teams Ranking System as the world's best team.

Martin beat local favourite Warren Hassall 7-4 to claim his first Wayside Inn title.

"Sometimes it takes 20 years," said Martin. "It was nice to get it done, especially so close to (his childhood) home. For me, I have so much family here and every year, we went out of here losing the quarters or the semis."

Of course, winning a bonspiel never measures up to winning a world championship, but after years of frustration, this one was something special.

"It is a big deal when you're this close to home," said Martin. "I've been here so many times. We've lost this event every which way you can imagine. Even on that last hit, I was saying 'OK, guys, it's an open hit, but we've lost some weird ones here. Cling to this son-of-a-gun right to the end.'

"We've probably qualified here probably 18 times, then kept on finding ways to lose."

With $22,000 winner's money, Martin has now earned $73,553 this season. Hassall had the biggest payday of his career with $15,000 runner-up money.

"That's always good," said Hassall, whose money went a long way, considering he had no expenses. "We cleared a bunch of money. That's always a positive. I'm real happy with our weekend, that's for sure. We only lost one game. A couple of shots against Kevin and we could have made it closer. There's nothing to hang your head about, that's for sure."

Just getting into the final proved to be an adventure for Martin. He lost hammer advantage by giving up a steal in the first end, took control with a steal of his own in the seventh and had to make a delicate tapback to win 4-3 in a nailbiting extra end.

"What an end," said Martin. "Four rocks on each quadrant of the button and in the end we only had it by about three-quarters of an inch. He almost knocked us out in the semi and, oh gawd, we wouldn't have got into the final again."

Murdoch, the 2006 world champion, had no problem with missing his scheduled flight back to Scotland for another shot at the current world champ.

After being shut out in Brooks last weekend, Murdoch took home $8,000 semifinalist money.

"You just have to make every shot against them," said Murdoch. "Between Glenn (Howard) and him, they maybe miss one shot ... and that's what wins games."

Murdoch is going home satisfied that he took Martin to the limit and beat two other top-six ranked teams in the world, Kerry Burtnyk and Kevin Koe.

"It's been great for us," said Murdoch of his two-weekend trip to Canada. "We've played some good games against some real good teams."

Surrey's Sean Geall also took home $8,000 runner-up money. Quarterfinalists Chris Schille, Bryan Miki, Randy Ferbey and Steve Petryk won $5,500.

EXTRA ENDS: MARTIN'S THIRD JOHN MORRIS BECAME AN ANSWER TO A TRIVIA QUESTION WHEN HE BECAME THE FIRST PLAYER TO WIN THIS EVENT WITH TWO DIFFERENT TEAMS. MORRIS SKIPPED HIS OWN TEAM TO A WIN HERE IN 2003.


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