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Plana on staying competitive

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Junjun Plana has not lost his desire to compete even if work has occupied much of his time.

“It’s in the blood, partner,” said Plana who helped Time Cargo Logistics win the Am Championship at the 71st Fil-Am Invitational golf team championship in Baguio City less than a month ago.

The 54-year-old warrior, playing his first tournament in two years, walked off the 18th green at Camp John Hay Golf Club with even par during the first round.

“Guess nobody was looking,” said Plana who has not lost his humor, too.

Since learning to play golf at the age of five, Plana has joined tournaments — big and small, earning a reputation for his ability to score even when he’s struggling.

Plana has stopped going to the driving range or practice green. He just shows up at the golf course thrice a week to play with friends.

“I’m lucky to have a small group of friends who I get to play on a regular basis. We have fun at the dinner table as much as we have at the course,” he said.

The regular rounds have kept Plana’s game in shape, although a bad back has forced him to play with a golf cart.

“I could no longer walk the entire 18 holes because of my back condition,” he said.

Plana is a member of the original Brat Pack that dominated the Philippine Airlines Interclub golf team championships in the late eighties.

Playing alongside Carito Villaroman, Ramon Brobio, Cesar Ababa, Danny Zarate, Vince Lauron and Thirdy Escano, among others, Plana helped Camp Aguinaldo win three straight PAL Interclub championships.

During its maiden victory in 1988, Aguinaldo became the first and only team to win the championship crown while playing in the second-tier Founders division.

While most of his Aguinaldo teammates went on to turn pro, Plana stayed as amateur while taking care of their family’s trading business.

“I stopped playing for three years after taking over the trading firm,” he recalled.

Plana is just weeks away from becoming eligible to play as senior.

“I’m excited to play in the senior circuit, particularly in the PAL Interclub,” he said.

Plana said he wants to represent Manila Southwoods in both the regular and senior divisions.

“That would be exciting,” he said.

The successful holding of the Fil-Am Invitational may lead to the revival of the PAL Interclub in the coming months.

Plana is keeping his fingers crossed.

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