Alberta’s Marc Kennedy wins Ford Hot Shots competition


March 2, 2013, Edmonton, AB (ISN) – Alberta’s Marc Kennedy has opened the 2013 Tim Hortons Brier, presented by Monsanto, in winning fashion.

The 31-year-old second for Kevin Martin’s team from Edmonton captured the 2013 Ford Hot Shots title on Saturday at Rexall Place in Edmonton.

Kennedy made a double-takeout with his final rock of the pre-event skills competition to score four points, good enough to defeat defending champion Wayne Middaugh of Ontario 22-21 in the final.

With the victory, Kennedy won a two-year lease on a 2013 Ford Fusion SE 2.0L, AWD with EcoBoost, with an approximate retail value of $14,000.

Ironically, neither Kennedy nor Middaugh tried the crucial double takeout during their practice sessions.

“I was thinking of how dumb we were not to practise the double in our practice, neither one of us threw the double and it always comes (down) to it,” Kennedy said of his thoughts as he prepared for his final shot. “I was thinking throw it hard and straight and see what happens.”

The 31-year-old RBC Olympic ambassador who has won two Briers, a world championship and the 2010 Olympic gold curling with Kevin Martin’s rink, said it was an advantage throwing last, knowing he needed just three points to win the title.

“You don’t plan it that way, but knowing exactly what I needed on the last one probably helped me throw it a little bit better.”

The annual Hot Shots competition sees curlers throw six different shots: hit and stay, draw the button, draw the port, raise, hit and roll and double takeout. Each shot is awarded points on a scale from zero to five depending on the end result of the shot.

Middaugh won $2,000 for finishing second.

“The boys were putting pressure on me, saying we have to keep the Ontario streak going,” said Middaugh, whose victory last year was the fourth straight for Ontario curlers. “I just threw my last one a little in, just needed to curl another half inch. But I have no complaints, $2,000. It’s a ton of fun, this is what I live for.”

In the semifinals Middaugh beat Brett Gallant of Newfoundland-Labrador 23-20 while Kennedy beat Sean Ledgerwood of Prince Edward Island, 26-18.

Gallant’s 20 points gave him third place and $1,000 for the Brier rookie.

“Car would been cool, my ’98 Honda Civic is getting old,” Gallant said. “I got lucky the first round, made some shots and got through.”

In the quarter-finals, Brock Virtue of Saskatchewan (16 points), Jon Mead of Manitoba (18), John Morris of Alberta (19) and Éric Sylvain of Quebec (22) were eliminated. Sylvain was tied with Gallant but in the sudden-death draw to the button he came up short of the four foot while Gallant was biting the button.