Jason Gunnlaugson has had a roller-coaster ride of a curling season.
First there was earning a berth in the Canadian Curling Trials.
Then there was not winning a game at the Canadian Curling Trials.
While being the young guns with no pressure was fun, going 0-7 against Canada's top teams was a blow to the confidence of his Beausejour-based squad.
"Around Christmas time it wasn't at an all-time high, but since Christmas we've kind of recommitted to just working as hard as we've ever worked before," Gunnlaugson said.
The 25-year-old opened the Safeway Championship on Wednesday with a 6-3 win over the Heather's Wayne Ewasko at Steinbach's TG Smith Centre. He will meet Flin Flon's Murray Woodward Thursday morning.
"We want to go to Halifax (for the Brier), and we kind of have an idea of what we have to do to give ourselves a good chance, and we've been doing that," Gunnlaugson said. "So our confidence is extremely high."
Gunnlaugson is the fifth seed at the provincial men's curling championship, and the four ahead of him all opened with victories on Wednesday. Charleswood's Jeff Stoughton, and Assiniboine Memorial's Mike McEwen and Kerry Burtnyk cruised to easy wins, while No. 4 Reid Carruthers of West Kildonan eked out a 5-4 triumph over the Heather's Andrew Irving.
Those feeling not so good on opening day were Assiniboine Memorial's David Bohn, the sixth seed who dropped a 9-7 decision to Dauphin's Peter Prokopowich but rebounded to eliminate Kelly Marnoch of Carberry 9-2 in the late draw.
The highest seed to be bounced from the event was No. 10 Terry McNamee of Hamiota, who lost 5-3 to West Kildonan's Andrew Wickman in his opener and 10-6 to Brandon's Allan Lyburn, the seventh seed, in B-event play on Wednesday night.
Also eliminated Wednesday night were Pilot Mound's Curtis McCannell and Springfield's Kevin Larson.
Notable matches in Thursday's 8:30 a.m. draw include Burtnyk against Deer Lodge's Sean Grassie and Carruthers versus West Kildonan's Doug Riach.
McEwen will battle Pembina's David Kraichy and Stoughton will tangle with the Granite's Bob Sigurdson at 12:15 p.m.
LOOKING AHEAD: Curl Manitoba announced Wednesday that Beausejour will host the 2011 Safeway Championship at the Sun Gro Centre.