People hitting the links at Torrey Pines on Tuesday got quite a surprise: A small plane that landed right on the fairway.
The single-engine biplane landed safely around 11:45 a.m., taking golfers completely by surprise.
“It started coming really low to the ground, and we had to scurry our carts out of the way,” golfer Michael Fasel said.
“The next thing I know, I can hear it out of my ear, and it’s literally 20 feet over my head,” golfer Chad Hobbs said. “It had just passed, and I didn’t even know it was happening.”
Witnesses reported hearing a sputtering sound coming from the plane. In a statement, the Federal Aviation Administration said the plane made the precautionary landing because of a “rough running engine.”
The pilot and the two passengers were not injured, and the plane was not damaged. However, witnesses said it was a close call.
“So it lands on No. 4 and it looks like it was actually going to end up in the canyon," Hobbs said. "It kind of had to veer off at the last second. Otherwise, it could have gone off into the canyon."
After the surprise landing, aerial pictures showed a tractor trying to tow the plane off the course.
Fasel, who was celebrating his birthday Tuesday, captured the whole thing on cell phone video.
“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” Fasel said. “It’s my birthday. I thought, maybe it’s a special birthday flyby?”
While some golfers stopped to check out the commotion, others just continued on with their games.
“He just hit his shot, and we watched him land and, ‘wow, look at that.’ And we just kept playing,” golfer Dustin Dinsmore said with a laugh.
The plane is registered to Daniels Aviation, Inc. in San Diego. The FAA is investigating.