Walker, Brown cruise to opening wins at national curling trials qualifier

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Laura Walker and Corryn Brown earned victories on the opening day of the Women’s Trials Direct Entry event at the RA Centre in Ottawa on Thursday.

The tournament, which runs concurrently to the men’s event, offers entry to three women’s teams and two men’s rinks into November’s Olympic curling trials in Saskatoon .

Walker took an early lead on Casey Scheidegger en route to victory, scoring two points in the first end. But Scheidegger got the points back right back in the second. However, it was all Walker from there as she scored five straight points and won 9-4 in eight ends.

The other women’s game saw Brown beat Suzanne Birt 9-7. Brown started off strong going up 3-1 after three ends. The two teams went back and forth before Birt took three in the ninth end. Yet Brown rallied and scored four in the 10th to secure the win.

Each team will play four games to finalize seeding for the playoffs.

Jennifer Jones, Rachel Homan, Kerri Einarson and Tracy Fleury have already locked up berths for the Trials.

On the men’s side, Matt Dunstone earned his first victory with an 8-5 decision over Mike McEwen. Both rinks now sit at 1-1 for the tournament.

Meanwhile, Colton Flasch dropped to 0-2 after an 8-4 loss to Jason Gunnlaugson, who was competing in his first match of the tournament.

The men return to the ice at 8 p.m. ET.

Edmonton’s Brendan Bottcher, Toronto’s John Epping, Brad Gushue of St. John’s N.L., and Calgary’s Kevin Koe have already booked tickets to Saskatoon.

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