PARADISE, N.L. — Glenn Howard toppled Steve Laycock 7-2 on Thursday evening to remain unbeaten at the inaugural Tour Challenge at the Paradise Double Ice Complex.

Howard, from Penetanguishene, Ont., held a 3-2 advantage on the Saskatoon native before scoring four in the sixth end to seal the victory.

Earlier in the day Howard edged Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., 6-5, running his record to 3-0 through nine draws of the first Grand Slam of Curling event of the season. Howard scored three points in the eighth end to beat the Olympic champion.

Also in evening play, Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., needed only four ends to hammer Charlottetown’s Adam Casey 8-1. And Jacobs bounced back with a 6-0 four-end victory over Switzerland’s Sven Michel.  

Howard currently sits in a three-way tie for first with Winnipeg skips Reid Carruthers and Mike McEwen, who have identical records. Gushue, Jacobs, Edmonton’s Brendan Bottcher and Calgary’s Kevin Koe are tied for fourth with 2-1 records.

In women’s evening matchups, Ottawa’s Rachel Homan kept pace with Sherry Middaugh atop the standings with a 7-0 win over Edmonton’s Kelsey Roque in Draw 9.

Homan scored at least one point in every end, including three in the fourth to run her record to 3-0. Middaugh, from Coldwater, Ont., is also 3-0 after downing Calgary’s Chelsea Carey 5-4 in afternoon action.

Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni also picked up a win in Draw 9, scoring a deuce in an extra end to beat Tracy Fleury of Sudbury, Ont., 9-7.

Tirinzoni trailed 7-6 in the eighth end, but scored a single to force a ninth.

Carey, Tirinzoni, Roque and Scotland’s Eve Muirhead have 2-1 records, leaving them in a four-way tie for third.

The $200,000 competition is a two-tier event featuring 30 men’s and 30 women’s teams. Round-robin play continues on Friday.

The Canadian Press