Hail Homan: Ontario rink captures Grand Slam of Curling’s WFG Masters women’s title

Skip Rachel Homan throws a rock as she takes on Silvana Tirinzoni's side in the WFG Masters Grand Slam of Curling Women's Final in Saskatoon on Sunday. PHOTO BY MATT SMITH /Special to Saskatoon StarPhoenix

by Darren Zary

Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Rachel Homan’s Ontario team mastered the field at the Grand Slam of Curling’s WFG Masters in Saskatoon.

“We love Saskatchewan,” said Homan, whose team scored four with the hammer in the third end and then capped things off with a double takeout to score three in the seventh to clinch a 8-4 victory over Switzerland’s Team Silvana Tirinzoni in Sunday’s WFG Masters women’s final at Merlis Belsher Place.

“They’re awesome people and always an amazing crowd and really fun to win in front of them. It was a great feeling and a phenomenal way to end the game.”

Homan’s team was well in control through the first four ends. In the second, Tirinzoni was forced to draw for one to escape disaster and a three-ender for Homan, who was counting five in the ring that end at one point.

In the third, Tirinzoni wrecked on a guard to help set up a big score for Homan, who capitalized on the opportunity, just like she did in the seventh with the game-ending double-takeout to count three.

“There’s a lot of shots there, a lot of big sweeps, a lot of phenomenal team shots, just placing shots on a dime,” said Homan, whose winning team includes third Tracy Fleury, second Emma Miskew and lead Sarah Wilkes.

“It’s obviously nice to close the game with that double — really well called. It was just a strong performance, throughout, for our team. They (Team Tirinzoni) played really well and they were clawing back and we had to make everything to clinch out in the seventh. It was a great team performance.”

Homan has now won a record 14 Grand Slam women’s titles, including three in the WFG Masters. She was making her seventh appearance in the event’s final since the Masters expanded in 2012 to include a women’s division.

“We know we’re doing a lot of things right,” said Homan. “Obviously, there’s always room for improvement, so we’re just going to take those (wins) and keep working and keep getting better and hopefully bring our best in January and February.”

Earlier, Homan upended Winnipeg’s Team Jennifer Jones 8-4 and Tirinzoni topped Team Kerri Einarson of Gimli, Man., 6-3 during Saturday night’s semifinals to advance to Sunday’s championship game.

A three-time winner on the Grand Slam circuit, Tirinzoni won the second event of her career at Merlis Belsher Place during the 2019 Champions Cup.

On Sunday, her team struggled early before attempting a comeback, only to fall a little short.

“Well, obviously, we didn’t play well enough the first four ends,” said Alina Patz, who shot fourth rocks for the Team Tirinzoni. “That was the story of the game. I mean, we gave up four. That’s never a good plan. We tried to fight back after that and made some good shots and gave ourselves a chance, which is good, but it wasn’t enough against a team like that.”

Team Tirinzoni includes skip Silvana Tirinzoni, Patz, second Selina Witschonke and lead Carole Howald.

Tirinzoni defeated Einarson in the 2019 Champions Cup women’s final in Saskatoon.

“It was a great week,” said Patz. “We always love to come back to Saskatoon. We enjoyed ourselves here. We had some great weather, the food was great and there are great people here.”

Homan won 7-3 over Tirinzoni during their earlier encounter in round robin play Wednesday.

It was the second straight Grand Slam championship final for Homan, who lost 7-6 to South Korea’s Team Eun-Ji Gim last month in the KIOTI National women’s final.