Glenn Howard off to fast start

GEORGE KARRYS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:45 PM ET

For Glenn Howard, 2011 can't come fast enough.

The three-time world curling champion skip lost the 2010 Olympic Trials to Kevin Martin, the 2010 Brier final to Kevin Koe and he also lost his grip on the big money Capital One Cup, making the previous campaign one of disappointment.

"I thought we had a phenomenal season with two really tough, tough losses to deal with," said Howard.

But Howard and his Coldwater teammates Craig Savill, Brent Laing and Pickering's Richard Hart got the new season off to a great start by winning the inaugural StuSells Toronto Tankard Monday evening at the High Park Curling Club.

The 6-4 final-game victory over old friend and teammate Wayne Middaugh of Toronto St. George's was worth $8,000.

"We lost an early one and then had to grind through another seven games after that," said Howard. "We had a lot of last-shot victories and it's a nice way to start the season."

Howard made a highlight-reel triple takeout in the sixth end to score a single point, an eye-opening shot that proved to be the key blow of the match.

The Tankard marked the first big men's cashspiel hosted in the City of Toronto since the venerable days of the Molson/Royals Classic.

"Holy cow," said Howard. "Oh man, we're talking late 80s? I'd have to look it up but you're pushing 20-odd years, I think, since I've

Middaugh, who earned $4,000, has retooled his squad for the new season, welcoming back Joe Frans at third while Scott Foster and Scott Howard (Glenn's son) man the front end brushes.

The younger Howard missed the confrontation, however, as he was competing in Ottawa with his junior squad. Middaugh alternate Adam Spencer filled in.

Howard edged Middaugh cousin and (another) former teammate Peter Corner 4-3 in one semifinal, while Middaugh eliminated his former third John Epping -- with longtime Middaugh crony Scott Bailey atthird stone -- by a 7-6 count in the other semi.

The women's crown went to Alliston's Jacqueline Harrison ($4,000) who stole a 5-4 win from Toronto Bayview's Julie Hastings ($2,500).

BROOM BITS: Those curling Kevins, Martin and Koe, faced off in the final of a Vancouver World Curling Tour final on Monday night, while China's 2010 Olympic bronze medallist Bingyu Wang of China had also qualified for the Monday final of a women's Grand Slam event in Calgary.


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