Pyeongchang Olympics Curling

Matt Hamilton sweeps during a mixed doubles curling match against South Korea last Friday.

AARON FAVILA, Associated Press

Wisconsinites Matt Hamilton and John Shuster got off to a winning start in the Olympic men's curling tournament on Wednesday.

The United States defeated South Korea 11-7 in Gangneung, South Korea, in the first of nine round-robin games for the American team skipped by four-time Olympian Shuster, who lives in Superior.

"Definitely not the best we can put out there, but very solid," Shuster said. "We executed the basic shots and when we got misses and half shots from the other team we capitalized on it. We wanted to focus on rock positioning and take advantage of any nerves that maybe those guys might have coming out there, and we executed on both those things very solidly today."

Hamilton, of McFarland, plays second on the team and made his Olympic team debut. He also competed in Olympic mixed doubles event with his sister, Becca; they finished seventh of eight teams.

Becca Hamilton and the U.S. women's team skipped by McFarland's Nina Roth were due to open their tournament later Wednesday against Japan.

Neither the U.S. nor South Korea was able to steal points against the other team's last shot in the men's opener, but the Americans had more big ends.

They scored three points in the third and fifth ends for an 8-3 lead at the break.

The U.S., with John Landsteiner playing lead and Tyler George as vice skip, also scored two in the first and seventh ends while holding South Korea to only two ends of more than one point: two in the second and three in the sixth.

Matt Hamilton led the Americans at 93 percent shooting.

"Mostly I am just glad I got some game experience in the Olympics and I think that really helped me going out here," Hamilton said. "I didn't feel any nerves and I was just ready to play some curling matches."

The U.S. men are back on the ice Thursday (11:05 p.m. Wednesday Madison time) against Italy.

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Todd D. Milewski covers Wisconsin Badgers men's hockey and the UW Athletic Department for the Wisconsin State Journal.