Howard beat McEwen to win Players’ Championship

TORONTO — Glenn Howard won the Players’ Championship with a 4-3 victory over Mike McEwen in the men’s final Sunday afternoon at the Mattamy Athletic Centre. Howard, from Coldwater, Ont., hit a double takeout with his final throw to score two points for the win. Earlier, Scotland’s Eve Muirhead defeated Sweden’s Margaretha Sigfridsson 8-5 in the women’s final for her first career Grand Slam title.

TORONTO — Glenn Howard won the Players’ Championship with a 4-3 victory over Mike McEwen in the men’s final Sunday afternoon at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.

Howard, from Coldwater, Ont., hit a double takeout with his final throw to score two points for the win.

Earlier, Scotland’s Eve Muirhead defeated Sweden’s Margaretha Sigfridsson 8-5 in the women’s final for her first career Grand Slam title.

McEwen, from Winnipeg, opened the scoring with a single in the first end. Howard had a chance for a double takeout for two in the third end but settled for one to pull even.

McEwen had the hammer for the first time in the fourth end but couldn’t clear out both stones in the four-foot ring, allowing Howard to steal one for the lead.

After a blank end in the fifth, McEwen hit a tap for one to tie it. Howard had final throw in the seventh end but hit a guard to give McEwen a steal of one and a 3-2 lead.

Howard reached the final with a 6-3 semifinal victory over 2013 Tim Hortons Brier champion Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. McEwen advanced with a 5-2 win over Jeff Stoughton of Winnipeg.

The tournament also finalized several berths for the Olympic trials — the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings — this December. Three spots in both men’s and women’s draws were finalized before the season-ending Grand Slam.

Three more spots for both draws were determined from the Canadian Team Ranking System standings.

McEwen, Kevin Koe and John Epping were the latest men’s skips to earn berths. Epping earned his entry when Jacobs lost in the semifinal.

Howard, Stoughton and Kevin Martin had already locked up spots.

For the women’s draw, Jennifer Jones, Heather Nedohin and Stefanie Lawton already had spots. Rachel Homan, Sherry Middaugh and Chelsea Carey will now join them in Winnipeg.

The remaining berths — two for the men and two for the women — will be determined at a pre-trials event in Kitchener, Ont., in November.

In Sunday’s women’s final, Muirhead had the hammer for the final end and hit a draw with her last throw for the single point and the victory.

The win came just a few weeks after she beat Sigfridsson in the gold-medal game at the world championship in Latvia.

“We knew we had to be sharp against the Swedish girls,” Muirhead said.

“We always have huge battles against them and we have a pretty high success rate against them in a final.

“To get another one is great.”

Notes: Howard’s team earned $75,000 ($25,000 purse share plus $50,000 bonus) for the victory while Muirhead’s team earned $34,500 ($22,000 purse share plus $12,500 bonus). … Team McEwen second Matt Wozniak wore a Toronto Blue Jays hat for the final.

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