McLeod Health is once again raising awareness of breast cancer and physical activity as a sponsor of the McLeod for Health Florence Open benefitting Susan G. Komen Lowcountry. Now in its fourth year, Florence’s only professional tennis tournament will be held October 18 to 25 at the Dr. Eddie Floyd Tennis Center.
The Florence Open tournament formed an alliance in 2014 with McLeod Health and Susan G. Komen Lowcountry to help support the fight against breast cancer in the region. McLeod Health is deeply committed to the early identification and treatment of breast cancer, and Komen Lowcountry has provided major grants to McLeodRegionalMedicalCenter to support mammogram screenings, follow-up diagnostic procedures, patient navigation services, and survivor support services, including transportation and child care.
In January of 2015, representatives with the McLeod for Health Florence Open presented a check for $8,500, representing the net proceeds of the 2014 tournament, to Komen Lowcountry.
The week-long McLeod for Health Florence Open will draw some of the best young professional players from around the world to compete for $25,000 in prize money and higher rankings. Net profits from the event will go to Komen Lowcountry, which serves a 17-county region that includes Florence and the rest of the Pee Dee counties.
With approximately 70 tournaments held annually throughout the country, the US Tennis Association Pro Circuit is the pathway to the US Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals. The largest developmental tennis circuit in the world, it draws more than 1,000 men and women each year from more than 70 countries to compete in cities nationwide. Established pros like Maria Sharapova and Carolyne Wozniacki began their careers on the USTA Pro Circuit, and so did some of the sport’s top new players like Americans Sloane Stephens and Christina McHale.
Florence, one of the smallest cities on the circuit, was selected to host an event because of its world-class courts, its strong volunteer base, and the generosity of its sponsors. This eight day tournament puts Florence on the world tennis map and generates significant tourism revenues for the community.
The Florence Open will feature two days of qualifying rounds, a 32 player main draw, and a pro-am event. The week’s events are being organized and managed by a Tournament Steering Committee that includes CityParks and Recreation Department Director Darlene Buchanan, City Tennis Director Rob Hill, and a number of Florence Tennis Association volunteers.
"The goals are to bring world class tennis to Florence, to create a genuine community event that emphasizes health, fitness, and breast cancer awareness, and to raise funds that will enable us to make a significant donation to an excellent cause. This will be great tennis for a great cause,” added Tournament Director Hill.