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Florence open this weekend

on Friday, 16 October 2015. Posted in News, Sports

The McLeod for Health Florence Open, a USTA Pro Circuit women’s tennis tournament, will be held Sunday, Oct. 18, through Sunday, Oct.25, at the Eddie Floyd Tennis Center.

During the week-long event almost 100 of the best young professionals in the world will compete for ranking points and a $25,000 purse.  With draws of 64 players in the qualifying rounds and 32 in the main draw rounds, Florence residents can expect to see a number of the sport’s future stars and some amazing displays of world-class tennis.

Admission is free and you’ll see the highest caliber of tennis play available in this region.  Almost one hundred of the world’s best women players will be in Florence to compete and to improve their professional rankings. Net proceeds from the event will go to Susan G. Komen Lowcountry to help our community in its fight against breast cancer. 

In its fourth year, this year’s tournament will kick off on Sunday with two and a half days of qualifying rounds.  The main draw will begin Tuesday afternoon and continue through Sunday, October 25, when the singles and doubles finals will be held.  Tournament week also will include opening and closing ceremonies, a Pro-Am Tournament, a Community Day held Oct. 24, and a number of social events.  A Wildcard Tournament was held at the Tennis Center in early October to permit players to compete for spots in the qualifying rounds. 

This is the second year that McLeod Health has been the presenting sponsor and net proceeds have gone to Susan G. Komen Lowcountry, a leader in the fight against breast cancer. The alliance of McLeod, the Florence Open, and Komen is the perfect way to promote physical fitness and increase breast cancer awareness.  McLeod Health is deeply committed to wellness and to the early identification and treatment of cancer in all its forms, and Komen Lowcountry provides very generous grant funding to help McLeod Regional Medical Center and other area medical organizations with breast cancer awareness and treatment. 

 Last Year’s McLeod Open was an unprecedented success, with the largest number of fans ever seen at the Dr. Eddie Floyd Tennis Center and exceptional local sponsorship that produced a budget surplus of $8,500, which was donated to Susan G. Komen.  The event received a huge boost from the star power of young American sensation CiCi Bellis, who won the singles championship, and the local appeal of the winning doubles team composed of top-ranked UNC star Jamie Loeb and UNC grad Sanaz Marand, who has trained in Florence.

 The primary source of funding for the tournament is the generous sponsorship of area businesses and other organizations.  Major 2015 sponsors include McLeod Health, Pepsi Cola, Raines Hospitality, King Cadillac Buick GMC, CSP Insurance Services, Community Broadcasting, Chase Oil Company, Florence Convention and Visitors Bureau, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Pro Circuit, USTA South Carolina, USTA Southern, the Florence Tennis Association, NUCOR, the City of Florence, and Women in Philanthropy.  Over 30 sponsors provided financial or in-kind support, including a large number of area food vendors who donate meals for players, officials, and guests.

One key to the success of the Florence Open is the unwavering support of the award-winning Florence Tennis Association.  Since the event’s inception, the FTA has been a major sponsor, both financially and in terms of in-kind donations.  Its leaders have held pivotal positions on the Tournament Committee, and dozens of FTA members pitch in every year as host families for the players, courtesy vehicle drivers, on-court support staff, media liaisons and escorts, and on-site hosts and hostesses. 

 Having an event of this magnitude at our Tennis Center is a real coup.  The USTA Pro Circuit is the largest developmental tennis circuit in the world, drawing more than 1,000 men and women each year from more than 70 countries to compete in cities nationwide.  Florence, one of the smallest cities on the circuit, was selected to host this event because of its world-class courts, its strong volunteer base, and the generosity of its sponsors.  This week-long tournament puts us on the world tennis map and generates over $100,000 in tourism revenues for our community.  

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