Niagara Gazette — Craig Avery of Lewiston, a local developer and entrepreneur, was probably more excited than most area residents watching the breathtaking finish to the Masters Tournament.
Understandably it reached a fever pitch when Adam Scott nailed that 12-foot birdie putt at the second playoff hole to defeat Angel Cabrera. That stroke made Scott the first Australian to win the Masters. Overnight he became a hero in his homeland.
“It was great to watch him at that moment,” said Avery, who was host to Scott for the 1998 and 1999 Porter Cup tournaments at the Niagara Falls Country Club. In the first event, he tied for 18th; in the second, he tied for 20th among the entrants.
Avery and his wife Sally have some fond memories of that 18-year-old Aussie showing up that first summer without any place to stay. It’s a tradition for the NFCC members to offer housing to the young amateurs — mostly college students — competing in the annual tourney.
That summer, however, the housing committee was hard-pressed to find enough lodging for the influx. When the Averys heard of the need, they invited Scott to stay at their Lewiston Heights home, a short distance from the golf course.
Avery says he’ll always remember how calm and collected the young golfer was when he casually announced upon arriving in Lewiston that “they lost my bags on the connecting flight.” While Avery was stunned by the news, Scott didn’t appear the least bothered by the mixup. “His demeanor then (under the circumstances) was really impressive,” Avery added.
The Averys have also kept in touch with Scott’s parents, Phil and Pam, over the years. The father is involved in golf as well, as a builder and designer of courses.
The tourney champ in the family invited the Averys to the Masters Tournament several years ago, providing them with tickets. “I went to the event in Augusta in 2004 and Adam got us four passes,” said  Steve Denn, the Porter Cup director and a prime mover in its present-day success. “He’s really a class guy,” Denn said.
Avery has been a strong supporter of the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, chairing the major fund drive for its new emergency room. He also secured items — through his links to Scott  — or the hospital’s annual Niagara Cup Classic at the Niagara Falls Country Club. One of those items was an autographed Master’s flag that attracted brisk bidding, with all the proceeds to benefit the hospital.
FISCAL CRUNCH: Bob Emerson, executive director of the Old Fort Niagara Association, set the record straight Wednesday when it was announced that local not-for-profit organizations and civic groups might want to contact the fort office because it recently received a grant that could cover costs of providing red-coated guards etc. for events linked to the War of 1812 observance. During a press conference, Brian Merrett, the CEO of the Bicentennial Legacy Council, urged people to call Emerson because “he has lots of money.” Emerson whispered to a nearby reporter, “Some money.”
BACK IN BUSINESS: Two popular restaurants in the Wilson area have reopened for the season: The Wilson Boat House on the harbor and Brownie’s, Lake Road, famous for its hot dogs, burgers,ice cream etc.
TOURIST CONFUSED: An Ohio visitor, his wife and two children were standing near the fenced-off area overlooking Luna Island. Pointing to a “Closed for the Season” sign, the father asked, ‘I wonder if that’s left over from last year or does that mean this year?”Contact reporter Don Glynn at 282-2311, ext. 2259