By REY BANCOD
By BACOLOD CITY – Defending champion Manila Southwoods lost some ground at Binitin Saturday, but looked unstoppable in marching to its fourth straight Philippine Airlines Interclub golf team championship.
Playing in tougher wind conditions, the Carmona-based squad struggled with 126, 15 points less than what it collected Friday.
But with a 20-point lead over Luisitia going into Sunday’s finale at Marapara, Southwoods can only lose the tournament if only three players show up.
“No, no, no,” Southwoods captain Thirdy Escano replied when asked if the title was already in the bag. “It’s not over until it’s over.”
Escano, however, concedes that it has a strong team in the final day.
“Yuto (Katsuragawa) is aching to redeem himself for his poor 30 points last Thursday,” said Escano.
Korean Tom Kim mixed three birdies with the same number of bogeys to lead Southwoods with 36 points.
Luigi Paolo Wong added 32 while Adric Chan and Carl Corpus chipped in 30 and 28, respectively.
Kristoffer Arevalo, the team’s top performer with 36 Friday, bogeyed the first four holes, picked up twice and failed to count with 28 points.
Luisita, the almost forgotten team, drew 37 points from Sean Jean Ramos to finish the round with 129, three points better than Southwoods.
Ramos, a 14-year-old eighth grader at De la Salle-Zobel, collected three birdies against two bogeys to shoot the day’s lone sub-par round at Binitin.
Other Luisita scorers were Luis Miguel Guerrero 33, Benjie Sumulong 31 and Eddie Bagtas 28.
Sixteen points behind Luisita was Canlubang which had 119 points from Josef Perry Bucay (32), Jonas Magcalayo (31), Gido Mandanas (28) and Jan Philippe de Claro (28).
Del Monte was a poor fourth with 350 following 118 points.
Meanwhile, Mactan Island pulled away in the Sportswriters division after getting 103 points at Binitin for 296 total.
Guinhalaran took second spot with 89-273 and Club Filipino de Cebu 90-268.
In the Friendship class, the top three teams are Bay Area Golf Org. 58-241, South Cotabato 79-223 and Pittsburg Fil-Am 65-206.
This year’s Interclub’s Platinum sponsors this year are RMN and Manila Times, while major sponsors are Mastercard, The Philippine Manila Standard, Rolls Royce, Bombardier, TV5, Primax, BusinessWorld, Crossover and Fox.