And now, the curling season is over.
But not before Kevin Koe and company polished things off in the best way possible at the Curling World Cup grand final in Beijing, China on Saturday evening.
Koe defeated China’s Qiang Zou in the men’s gold medal game by a score of 5-3 to claim the inaugural title and a pretty good pay day to boot.
In his post-match comments, Koe said he was super happy to have won the first one.
“It was a lot of fun out there,” he said. “We’ve had a great year and it’s awesome to win here. All week, we’ve been really impressed with these Curling World Cup events and it feels good to win the grand final.”
Koe got to the final thanks to finishing atop his pool following the double round-robin. Koe defeated Thomas Ulsrud of Norway and Ross Paterson of Scotland twice but lost both of his meetings to Switzerland’s Yannick Schwaller.
In the end, Koe and Paterson were tied with identical records of four wins and two losses but the tiebreaker was head-to-head play, giving Koe the nod.
The final was a game of singles as Zou scored one with the hammer to open the contest. Koe answered that in the second end to tie the game and then stole another in the third to take the lead, 2-1. Both teams traded singles in the fourth and fifth ends but Koe was able to increase his lead by stealing one in the sixth end after Dexin Ba, who threw fourth rocks for China, came up light on his last rock in the end.
The seventh end began with some laughs as Koe had gone for a bathroom break and didn’t return in time for the start of it, meaning third B.J. Neufeld was forced to call the line for the opening rock of the end. China eventually scored one with the hammer to reduce the deficit to 4-3.
With the hammer coming home in the eighth end, Koe had to draw against a Chinese rock already on the button and guarded but he was able to come around the guard and settle his rock closer to the pin to score a single and avoid an extra-end shootout.
“I didn’t love the draw in the final end – it was my first time in the game (drawing),” said Koe. “But we were really fortunate to play our best here. The Chinese team played really great and we wish them the best going forward.”
Koe’s win in the final was worth $27,000 but he also won four round-robin games, each of those being worth $3,000. Add it all up and the trip to China was worth $39,000.