World champion Jeff Stoughton grabbed the early overall lead at the BDO Canadian Open with a decisive 10-4 win over Steve Laycock on Thursday morning.
Stoughton scored triples in the third and sixth ends, and added a clinching steal of two in the seventh to improve his record at the Grand Slam of Curling event to 2-0. He edged Rob Fowler 6-5 in Wednesday night’s opening draw.
Laycock, the only other Draw 2 skip who also played in the opener, fell to 0-2. He was beaten soundly by Glenn Howard in his first game.
In other Draw 2 action, Niklas Edin edged Brad Gushue 4-3; Robert Schlender defeated Randy Ferbey 6-5; Tom Brewster handled John Epping, a surprise finalist at the season-opening Grand Slam, 7-2; and Jim Cotter won a 10-8 shootout over Dale Matchett.
Stoughton capitalized on a few mistakes by Laycock’s team in the decisive sixth end, in which he extended his lead from a 5-4 to 8-4.
“They just missed a couple shots and we took advantage of them,” stated Stoughton, who outcurled his opponent 91 per cent to 53. “They could not quite get their draw in, they were a tiny heavy, so we were able to peel a guard off and just make it a simple end. Once they committed to trying to steal, they were stuck because we had a bunch of biters in there.
“The three-ender there pretty well put the game away.”
That huge end may have made Stoughton more comfortable, but with the so-called five-rock rule making its debut at this tournament, it’s more difficult for a leading team to run its opponents out of rocks. Under the new rule, designed to generate more offence, teams are forbidden from removing an opposing stone from the free guard zone until the sixth stone of each end.
That made things more interesting for Stoughton in the seventh end, after he had taken his four-point lead.
“It was very different because we had five or six rocks in the house, which we normally would not have. They had two biters and another one in the four-foot and we are actually drawing. If it was the other rule, we probably would’ve been peeling out and giving them an simple deuce and we would’ve been playing [an eighth end, rather than Laycock conceding]. But it worked out at the end.”
Mike McEwen faced a similar scenario on Wednesday night during his convincing win over Mark Kean, and stated the new rule gave him “a headache” despite his enjoying a huge lead.
“You cannot [relax],” stated Stoughton. “That’s the difference.”
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Submited at Thursday, December 15th, 2011 at 6:00 pm on Sports by ethan
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