Perfect seven for Ursel

CON GRIWKOWSKY, EDMONTON SUN; SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:54 AM ET

Welcome back, Cotter.

Last-rock thrower Jim Cotter won his second Canada Cup event in Edmonton and helped Kelowna skip Bob Ursel win his first last night at the Saville Centre.

Ursel was undefeated in seven starts, including an 8-6 decision over Kevin Martin in the final.

"Oh, man, we're thrilled to death," said Ursel, who won $12,000.

"We've been struggling up until now. We went three spiels without qualifying. We knew coming in here we had to turn it around, start playing better ... and we did."

Struggling? The team nearly doubles its season earnings. They came into this event ranked No. 28 on the money list with $12,500.

"Jim's been playing great all year," said Ursel, whose team lost the 3-4 game to Glenn Howard at the 2008 Brier. "Even in the spiels where we weren't qualifying, Jimmy was playing well."

Cotter won his first title and a direct entry to the Olympic Trials in the 2004 Canada Cup West, playing the same last-rock role for Pat Ryan.

"It's a great event," said Cotter. "It's a beautiful facility, the ice is great. It felt really good. The guys were setting things up. After each win, you gain a bit more confidence.

"It felt pretty much like you could make anything out here and hats off to the icemaker.

"Sometimes you play well and you lose, and sometimes you play bad and win.

"We've been on the wrong side of the inch here and there, but we pulled it together this weekend.

"It feels great to be able to do it again."

SIX FIGURES

Martin earned $8,000 runnerup money, making him this season's first six-figure winner at $104,533.

"We got a pick in four, two in five and another one in six," said Martin, who battled back after giving up a three-banger in the fifth end.

"That was the game ... four picks in three ends. That's the way it goes some days.

"Jim made some real key shots late in the game. He was on and we had a couple of bad breaks.

"That's sports, isn't it?"

Martin also vaulted over the idle Glenn Howard to reclaim top spot on every conceivable team ranking list.

His rinkmates are looking for a change of pace going into Thursday's opening round of the Continental Cup in Camrose.

"I think we're pretty excited to play something different," said second Marc Kennedy.

"We've played a whole bunch this year. I know we're all a little tired, but we're excited to be part of this event. You can be part of a bigger team."

SECOND APPEARANCE

Martin appeared at the event's debut in 2002 and will be making his second appearance at the event.

"Geez, that one in Regina was fun," said Martin. "That was a real exciting event."

It's expected most of the draws will be played to near-capacity houses as Camrose has shown great interest in the unique event, patterned after golf's Ryder Cup.

"I know the guys are pretty excited about it," said Martin.

"We've been through a lot in the last two-and-a-half years, this will be kind of a nice change of pace.

"It's definitely a different game. Team World is going to be tough. They don't have any weaknesses."

Much of Team North America will be in the event for the first time.

Russ Howard quickly put on his team captain hat after losing yesterday's semi 7-6 to Ursel.

Howard already knows Martin is hot enough to carry the Continent's colours when all the marbles are on the line.

"They'll be our horse in the final game, that's for sure," said Howard, who has his work cut out for him deciding how to mix up his lineup,.

"It's going to be like solving the Rubik's Cube. It's complicated."

Team North America holds a 3-2 series lead, which will take a hiatus next year due to the Olympic Trials.


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