Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

David now a Bohn of contention

Will be battling the big boys in Selkirk Safeway next month

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DAVID BOHN didn't quite have the smooth ride to next month's Safeway Championship that Peter Nicholls and Bob Sigurdson did through the Winnipeg zone qualifiers Sunday.

But last year's provincial men's championship runner-up to Kerry Burtnyk overcame a Saturday night B-side loss to Sean Grassie and beat him 7-2 in the A-B final Sunday, earning himself a coveted Safeway berth through the zones.

Bohn, along with supporting cast David Hamblin, identical twin brother Dennis Bohn and lead Andrew Melnuk, joined Nicholls and Sigurdson -- both of whom went through their zones undefeated -- with zone berths.

Other zone winners include Reid Carruthers, veteran Doug Riach, Brendan Taylor and Scott Madams.

But some highly-ranked teams are still on the outside looking in and are now forced to get their Safeway berths through the MCA Bonspiel later this month. Those include Vic Peters, Randy Dutiaume and Brad Haight.

"We did OK at a couple of Tour cashspiels really early in the year, but in mid-season, we weren't getting chances to qualify, we just weren't really smooth and the results weren't happening," Bohn said at Thistle Curling Club.

"And then all of a sudden at the MCT Championship last weekend, we just felt like a different team. We really turned it around and won three straight. We played good teams and really felt like we deserved to win.

"And we brought that right to zones. I was happy with that and it certainly feels like a different team than it did before Christmas. It kind of feels a bit like last year (heading into the provincials).

"We've just got to keep playing the way we are. We're playing as a foursome, and we did last year at the Safeway. All we have to do is get sharp early, that helps carry the momentum so much better."

Bohn and the other six Winnipeg zone winners, along with the rural zone winners who make it to Selkirk for the Safeway Championship, are going to have their hands full one way or another.

Burtnyk and Jeff Stoughton -- both former world champions -- had already qualified for Selkirk and will be lying in wait, almost certain to be the top two seeds. Young Mike McEwen, the MCT champ, is the talk of Manitoba curling.

He also already had his spot and another tough team, Brandon's Terry McNamee, will be there too. Nicholls is a former provincial finalist and Sigurdson is nothing but steady, while Carruthers, like Nicholls, also lost a provincial final to Stoughton.

"I feel like we deserved to be in the final last year," Bohn said. "We were playing like we should have been. The thing is it's not like we're just showing up at these spiels and expecting to win, we're working at our game.

"Hopefully this is where the payoff's going to be now... it's not like we're coming in unprepared."


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 12, 2009 C4

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