SANTA MARIA, Calif. -

The 38th annual Santa Maria Open Tennis Tournament begins Saturday morning, and runs throughout Labor Day weekend at the Santa Maria Country Club.

One hundred and seventy five players are competing in what tournament organizers say is the strongest and deepest field the event has ever had.

Ten of the top seeds have ATP World Tour rankings. Fifteen universities are represented by players in the open divisions, and there is an international flair to the event with competitors hailing from 10 different countries.

The men's open division champion will win $4000. The women's open champion will win $3000. The women's prize money is less than the men's because there are fewer competitors.

There are also all kinds of recreational and club level players competing for trophies and other prizes in NTRP 4.0 and 5.0 singles, doubles, and mixed. KCOY 12 Evening News Anchor Scott Hennessee is taking a swing at the 4.0 singles division.

There are so many competitors, some of the early round matches will be played at local high schools. First ball will be served at 8:30 Saturday morning, with play continuing through the final rounds Monday at the Santa Maria Country Club.

Spectators are welcome and admission is free.