Proceeds to benefit Susan G. Komen South Carolina
Bianca Andreescu is pictured playing in the 2018 McLeod for Health Florence Open. She went on to win the singles finals and recently beat Serena Williams in the 2019 U.S. Open singles finals.
The McLeod for Health Florence Open is underway at the Dr. Eddie Floyd Florence Tennis Center. Florence’s only professional tennis tournament, made possible by the partnership between McLeod Health and the City of Florence, helps raise awareness of breast cancer and physical activity through the tournament, which benefits Susan G. Komen South Carolina.
Not only does the professional tennis tournament raise funds for local benefit, it draws nearly 100 of the world’s best women players to town. The USTA Pro Circuit features competitive matches between tennis’s rising athletes. Last year’s McLeod for Health Florence Open winner Bianca Andreescu went on to win the 2019 US Open last month defeating Serena Williams in the final.
“Florence residents have a great opportunity to come out and see several of the sport’s future stars. These ladies are playing at a very high level. Nothing illustrates that more than our current champion going on to win the US Open,” adds Rob Hill, Tournament Director.
Players will be competing for ranking points and a $25,000 purse. As one of the smallest cities on the USTA Pro Circuit, Florence was selected to host the event because of its world-class courts, strong volunteer base, and the generosity of its sponsors.
The McLeod for Health Florence Open features a 48-draw qualifying round, a 32-draw main round and a pro-am event. Qualifying rounds began on Sunday, October 13. Feature matches are being held daily throughout the week at noon. Singles semifinals and doubles finals are scheduled for Saturday, October 19, and the singles finals will be held on Sunday, October 20.
A Wildcard Tournament was held in September for players to compete for spots in the qualifying rounds and in main draw competition. Local tennis standout Zoe Cauthen won the event and received a wildcard in to both the singles and doubles main draw. Cauthen excelled as a player for Florence Christian School and currently plays at the collegiate level for Charleston Southern University.
The public is encouraged to come out to enjoy matches daily and participate in Community Day events on October 19 and 20. Scheduled community activities include a College – Am Round Robin, Hit and Get for prizes, and the Junior Team Tennis Challenge. Wrapping up the tournament is the singles final match and trophy presentation on Sunday afternoon. All matches and Community Day events are free and open to the public.
The Florence Open tournament formed an alliance in 2014 with McLeod Health and Susan G. Komen South Carolina to help support the fight against breast cancer in the region. McLeod Health, the tournament’s presenting sponsor, is deeply committed to the early identification and treatment of breast cancer, and Susan G. Komen South Carolina has provided significant funding to regional programs, including grants totaling more than $400,000 dollars to support breast cancer programs and patients at McLeod Health. Among other things, these grants have been used for mammograms, follow-up diagnostic procedures, patient navigation services, and survivor support services, including transportation.
In May of 2019, representatives with McLeod for Health Florence Open presented its 2018 profits — a total of $8,200 — to Susan G. Komen South Carolina to help fight breast cancer in northeastern region of South Carolina. Over the last five years, the McLeod for Health Florence Open has raised more than $51,000 for Susan G. Komen South Carolina.