Kyle Long and Lowell Catron return to defend their championships this weekend in the Joplin Area Golf Championships.

The first round begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at Schifferdecker Municipal Golf Course, and the final round is set for 10 a.m. Sunday at Briarbrook Golf Course.

The field is divided into two groups based on age – 49-under and 50-above. The top 16 finishers in each group will comprise the Joplin teams for the annual Horton Smith and Ky Laffoon Cup Matches against Springfield, scheduled next month in Springfield.

Long has been the tournament champion the last two years, giving him six career titles in this event and its predecessor, the Joplin Globe City Championship.

Last year Long won with a 3-under-par 140 total after shooting a 2-under 69 at Carthage Municipal Golf Course and 1-under 71 at Twin Hills, his home course.

Jordan Burks was second at 141, and Dustin Edge took third with 143.

Corey Clingan won A Flight with 149.

Catron led the Ky Laffoon qualifying with 139 with rounds of 67 at Carthage – his home course – and 72 at Twin Hills.

Joe Gorenc and Tim Old were next at 143 and 144, respectively.

Former city champion Bob McKay took A Flight with 148.

There is also a team competition in the tournament.

Twin Hills won last year’s 49-under team title with 443, followed by Carthage 443 and Briarbrook 448.

Carthage took seniors team honors with 436, followed by Twin Hills 448, Briarbrook 452 and Peoria Ridge 463.