Mission Viejo golf course fight puts man in jail


It all started with a game of golf at Casta Del Sol when Michael Payne allegedly got into a fight with four other golfers ahead of him at the 18th hole.

Nick Chambers says his 21-year-old friend was part of the foursome.

"He got approached from a guy from behind saying that he was stealing his golf balls," said Chambers.

Chambers said his friend denied the accusation, but the fight escalated.

Investigators accuse the 46-year-old Payne of punching one golfer in the face, then attacking Chambers' friend with a golf club, bashing him on the wrist as the victim tried to leave in a golf cart.

"He got in the cart to go get the marshal and go get help, and then he was chased down by the golfer with a golf club," said Chambers.

Payne then allegedly ran to the hillside.

"Deputies arrived at the scene and arrested Michael Payne for assault with a deadly weapon and assault and battery," said Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman Jim Amormino.

The victims are expected to recover, but Chambers said his friend hit by the club may have suffered a broken wrist.

"It's bad enough that he's not going to be golfing here pretty soon," said Chambers.

The incident on what is a usually quiet golf course is disturbing to those who golf there regularly.

"It's supposed to be a happy time and then when you see people fighting over something like that, it's ridiculous," said golfer Lavonna Koehler.

Officials with the golf course said they do not recognize Payne and they suspect he may have snuck onto the course.

Payne remains in a Santa Ana jail and faces misdemeanor and felony charges. His bail is set at $25,000.

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