THUNDER BAY, Ont. – Tracy Fleury of East St. Paul, Man., topped Krista McCarville of Thunder Bay, Ont., 5-3 on Thursday in ninth round-robin draw of the Tour Challenge.
Fleury’s rink of third Selena Njegovan, second Liz Fyfe and lead Kristin MacCuish, continued its solid start to climb to a 3-0 record and clinch a playoff spot with one group game remaining Friday against Winnipeg’s Darcy Robertson.
The Tour Challenge is the third event of the Grand Slam of Curling season and features the largest field in the series with 60 teams split into two tiers of action.
Tier 1 includes 15 of the top men’s teams and 15 of the top women’s teams from around the world.
Both Tier 2 divisions are composed of the next 10 teams ranked on the World Curling Tour’s Order of Merit plus five teams from within the event’s region.
Ottawa’s Rachel Homan (3-0) qualified for the playoffs by scoring four in the sixth end to defeat Kerri Einarson of Gimli, Man., 7-2. Einarson’s squad (3-1) wrapped up round-robin play a day early and had already secured a place in the quarterfinals.
Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones improved to a 2-1 record with a 6-5 victory over American Nina Roth (2-1).
Cory Christensen, also from the United States, stole one in the extra end to edge Edmonton’s Chelsea Carey 8-7. Both teams are still in the mix with 1-2 records.
Defending men’s champion Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., is 3-0 and qualified for the playoffs with a 6-1 win over Jason Gunnlaugson of Morris, Man.
Gunnlaugson dropped to 0-3.
Round-robin play wraps up Friday with the top eight teams overall in each division qualifying for Saturday’s quarterfinals. The semifinals are set for Saturday evening with all finals scheduled for Sunday.