SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. — He took the scenic route, but Brad Jacobs and his rink from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., finally won in front of their hometown crowd.
After losing in the final in their last Grand Slam of Curling event in Sault Ste. Marie back in 2014, Jacobs and his team beat Winnipeg's Reid Carruthers 4-2 on Sunday afternoon to win The National title.
"Relief is a good word to use," Jacobs said following the win. "On his last shot, I was literally praying that he would not make the shot.
"It's just really special to win in your hometown. There are a lot of expectations and it's a very difficult thing to do."
Jacobs earned his berth in the final thanks to a 5-3 win over Brad Gushue of St. John's, N.L., in the semifinal. Jacobs scored three in the eighth end to beat Gushue after the St. John's-based rink beat the hometown team in the round robin. Jacobs previously beat John Morris of Vernon, B.C., 6-5 in the quarter-final.
Jacobs was forced to win a tie-breaker game over Switzerland's Peter De Cruz to get into the playoff round after a 2-2 round robin record.
Carruthers entered the final unbeaten after going 4-0 in the round robin and then beating Sweden's Niklas Edin 7-0 in the semifinal in just five ends. Carruthers opened with a single before steals in the subsequent four ends in the win. Edin had won the opening two Grand Slam events of the season.
Team Jacobs lost in the final of the National in 2014 when he dropped a 5-2 decision to Winnipeg's Mike McEwen when the event was last in Sault Ste. Marie.
On the women's side, a pair in the seventh end was the difference as Winnipeg's Kerri Einarson downed Switzerland's Silvana Tirinzoni 5-3. With the score tied at three, Einarson picked up the deuce and ran Tirinzoni out of rocks in the eighth end to win.
"It's just amazing," Einarson said of winning the title. "On the last shot I just felt goosebumps down my entire body."
The win is the first Grand Slam win for the Manitoba rink.
For Einarson, the win came after Tirinzoni beat her 7-1 in six ends during the second draw.
Einarson advanced to the final thanks to a 9-6 win over Switzerland's Binia Feltscher in the semifinal. Einarson went 3-1 in the round robin and beat Russia's Anna Sidorova in the quarter-final.
Tirinzoni advanced to the final after beating Thunder Bay, Ont's Krista McCarville 6-5 in the semifinal. Tirinzoni stole a pair in the eighth end to erase a 5-4 deficit against McCarville. Tirinzoni also went 3-1 in the round robin and beat Calgary's Chelsea Carey in the quarter-final.
The next event on the Grand Slam of Curling schedule is the Canadian Open, which opens on Jan. 3 in North Battleford, Sask.