WINNIPEG - Kevin Martin, Glenn Howard and Norway's Thomas Ulsrud are tied atop the leaderboard with perfect 3-0 records Thursday after Draw 5 of the BDO Classic Canadian Open, the men's third Capital One Grand Slam of Curling series event.
Edmonton's Martin - Canada's 2010 Olympic representative - continued his strong play, defeating previously unbeaten Jean-Michel Menard (2-1) of Quebec City, Que., 10-4 in for his third consecutive victory.
After giving up a steal of one point in the first end, Martin jumped ahead in the following frame, executing an open draw for three points.
Tied at 3-3 in the fourth end, Martin was given a golden opportunity to reclaim the lead after Menard's double takeout attempt sailed through the house. The miscue gave Martin an easy open draw for five points and an insurmountable 8-3 advantage.
"We're starting to get a little bit back to normal again," said Martin. "It just takes some time. That's the bottom line. We're certainly not on our A-game by any means, but we're playing pretty good. So I think we're pretty happy with where we are right now."
Earlier in the day, Martin scored two points in the final end to defeat Toronto's Wayne Middaugh 7-5.
Howard, of Coldwater, Ont., posted wins against two Winnipeg-based teams, downing Mike McEwen 9-3 in the afternoon and sliding past Jeff Stoughton 8-2 in the evening's final draw.
Leading Stoughton 4-2 through four ends, the defending champion put the game away in the fifth frame with an open hit for three points.
"We had a couple surprising, I guess you could call them blowouts, today against McEwen and Stoughton," said Howard. "We haven't been stellar this week, but I don't think anyone has been really great. We're on the right track."
Ulsrud - Norway's 2010 Olympic representative - moved to 3-0 after squeezing by Randy Ferbey 6-4 to go along with an 8-4 decision over Edmonton's Ted Appelman and a 6-3 win over Jason Gunnlaugson of Beausejour, Man.
"The field out here is stronger than the Olympic field," said Ulsrud, following his victory over Appelman. "So if you win here, you're definitely a good player."
Pat Simmons of Davidson, Sask., is also undefeated at the event with a record of 2-0.
Simmons picked up a pair of wins Thursday following identical 6-3 victories over John Shuster - the United States' 2010 Olympic representative - and McEwen.