Kevin Koe rolls to victory in opening game at Masters

NORTH BAY, Ont. — Reigning Canadian men’s champion Kevin Koe is off to a winning start in the 2019-20 Grand Slam of Curling.

Koe’s Alberta rink beat Team Glenn Howard of Penetanguishene, Ont., 8-4 in the third draw of the $300,000 Masters on Wednesday.

Koe finished second at the world championship last season after winning the Tim Hortons Brier. He was world champion in 2010 and 2016 and skipped Canada’s Olympic team in 2018.

Saskatoon skip Kirk Muyres is playing third for Koe at the first Grand Slam of the season with B.J. Neufeld out awaiting the birth of his child.

Scott Howard is replacing his dad Glenn at skip this week with Adam subbing at the third spot.

In other third-draw men’s action, Mike McEwen’s Winnipeg rink improved to 1-1 with an 8-4 win over reigning world champ Niklas Edin of Sweden. Edin fell to 0-2 after losing his late-draw match 6-2 to Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L.

Ross Paterson of Scotland beat Toronto’s John Epping 6-4 and Regina’s Matt Dunstone beat Edmonton’s Brendan Bottcher 7-2.

On the women’s side, Kerri Einarson of Gimli, Man., split her first two matches. She downed Kelsey Rocque of Edmonton 9-3 in her first game, then lost 7-4 to Robyn Silvernagle of North Battleford, Sask., in the evening draw.

Team Casey Scheidegger of Lethbridge, Alta., also split, beating Silvernagle 6-4 before losing 6-5 to Silvana Tirinzoni of Switzerland. Regina’s Amber Holland is in for Scheidegger this week with the latter skip expecting her second child shortly.

In other late-draw action, Japan’s Satsuki Fujisawa beat Winnipeg’s Theresa Cannon 7-4.

Quarterfinals and semifinals are Saturday with the finals set for Sunday.

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