Rui Liu wins Challenge de Curling de Gatineau

Rui Liu (Harbin, China) wins the Challenge de Curling de Gatineau, defeating Peter De Cruz (Geneva, Switzerland) 8-2 at the Centre-Sportif Robert-Rochon in Gatineau, Canada. Liu with Xiao Ming Xu at third, Dongxu Jiang and Jia Liang Zang on the front end take home the $11,000CDN first place cheque along with 47.820 world ranking points, while De Cruz receives $7,000CDN and 37.573 world ranking points for their second place finish.

De Cruz opened the scoring stealing 1 in the first end, with Liu responding by drawing for 2 in the second end. After a blank end, De Cruz scored a single the fourth end to tie the game at 2, then Liu broke the game open in the fifth end with a hit to score 3. Liu added a steal of 3 when a team De Cruz draw picked in the sixth end, leading to handshakes and an 8-2 final.

In the semifinals, Liu defeated Mike McLean (Ottawa, ON) 6-4 and De Cruz defeated Codey Maus (London, ON) 8-1. McLean and Maus earned $4,500CDN and 29.034 ranking points for their semifinal finishes. In the quarterfinals, Liu defeated Martin Ferland (Levis, QC) 7-1, De Cruz defeated Greg Balsdon (Kingston, ON) 7-2, while McLean defeated John Epping (Toronto, ON) 6-5 in an extra end and Maus defeated Mark Dacey (Halifax, NS) 7-2. Balsdon, Ferland, Epping and Dacey earned $2,750CDN along with 20.494 ranking points for their quarterfinal finishes.

Liu went 4-0 in the 28 team triple knockout qualifying round. In their opening game, Liu defeated Brent MacDougall (Halifax, NS) 7-3, won against Mark Homan (Baie d'Urfe, QC) 10-7, and against Balsdon 7-1. In the A-Qualifier match, Liu clinched a playoff berth with a 6-5 win against Jean-Michel Menard (Gatineau, QC).