Sherry Middaugh wins Grand Slam event
|Sherry Middaugh's rink after winning the 2012 Autumn Gold Classic at the Calgary Curling Club. (Brendan Miller/Special to Calgary Sun)
CALGARY - Curling fans may have had to give up on a turkey dinner at home on Thanksgiving Monday in order to watch the playoff round at the $54,000 Curlers Corner Autumn Gold Classic.
But what they got in return was seeing some of Canada’s top female players battle it out in World Curling Tour Grand Slam competition, thank you very much.
When all was said and done, Coldwater, Ont.’s Sherry Middaugh and her rink of third Jo-Ann Rizzo, second Lee Merklinger and lead Leigh Armstrong won the championship and $14,000 that goes along with finishing atop the Calgary Curling Club event.
“From start to finish this weekend, we played well, so this is sweet — winning the first slam,” Middaugh said following her rink’s 6-3 final game win over Ottawa skip Rachel Homan, third Emma Miskew, second Alison Kreviazuk and lead Lisa Weagle.
“I felt like we had control in the final. We scored two in the first end, which is always a nice way to start.
“There were a couple of ends where we could have got into trouble,” Middaugh continued. “But overall, I felt we played a strong game.”
The win in the all-Ontario championship capped off a perfect 7-0 performance for Middaugh and teammates at the 35th edition of the Autumn Gold Classic.
Middaugh, a Saskatchewan-born skip, was once an alternate for Team Homan at the 2011 Scotties Tournament of Hearts and has competed in the national women’s championship seven times, winning bronze four times.
Earlier this season, Middaugh helped lead her rink to a first-place finish at the Radisson Blu Cup in Oslo, Norway, and her rink also reached the final and semifinal earlier this season in two Ontario events.
It’s fair to say it’s been a solid start to what’s sure to be a demanding year on the WCT tour for Middaugh & Co.
“It’s fun,” Middaugh said. “It’s hard, but it is fun.
“At every event, you want to kind of cash in some points. It’s a long haul, but you just want to do well every time. That’s the objective.”
The 23-year-old Homan, meanwhile, earned $10,000 for finishing second.
Homan led her lineup to the final by defeating Calgary’s Cheryl Bernard 5-1 in Monday morning’s quarterfinals and then outscoring local skip Shannon Kleibrink 4-3 in the semifinals. Against Kleibrink, Homan drew to the button with her final shot in the eighth end for the victory.
Kleibrink earned $6,500, while Bernard took home $4,000.
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