The prestigious event will also feature 15 international players, all competing for a total winning prize purse of $20,000.
Rarotonga Golf Club president George George said Howard and Williamson would go into the local rounds, which start at 9am, as the top favourites.
A good number of local golfers, including George himself, will try their luck in claiming the wildcard place in the main competition, which will start at 12 noon.
“Willie and Gunz are the top two local golfers and they have the longest drive in the local competitions. Surely they are the top bets for this wildcard place in the international competition,” George said.
“But it is not all about the distance – accuracy will also count because they will have to drive the ball and ensure it remains within the perimeter. That will surely provide a challenge to them.
“In saying that, there are other golfers who are putting their hand up to compete and we never know, one of them might be able to get the distance and the accuracy and he will be up against the best in the international competition.”
Run by International Golf Associates New Zealand (IGANZ), the Pacific Rim Long Drive will feature the likes of former world number one Maurice Allen, who is now ranked fourth, Troy Teal (20), Mitch Dobbyn (35), Anthony Thomas (39) and Tyler Barton (50), among other elite long-drive players.
Allen, who hails from Pine Hills in the US state of Florida, has attended two of the IGANZ invitational events and won both. He has a personal best drive of 488 yards.
“To have professional long-drive golfers here to compete in this event is a milestone for us. It’s a privilege to host such a prestigious event at our golf club,” George said.
“We have had some of the greatest golfers from the past who have played in our golf course and to have these international players will be another feather in the cap.”
In the Pacific Rim Long Drive Competition, the players will hit eight balls within three minutes. Only drives within a marked grid 400 metres long by 45 metres wide will be counted as successful attempts.
Attempts that land outside the width of the marked grid are not counted, as well as those outside the three-minute time limit.
“The international players will have five sets of eight balls and in each set they are able to gain points (1st 200, 2nd 100, 3rd 50, 4th 25 points),” Golf Cook Islands president Stuart Henry earlier said.
“The top eight players go into a match play-off quarter-finals, followed by a semifinal between the top four. The remaining two will play off for first and second place and the losing semifinalists play off for the third and fourth places.”
Competing Players: Maurice Allen (Ranking 4), Troy Teal (20), Mitch Dobbyn (35), Anthony Thomas (39), Tyler Barton (50), Alex Robertson (66), Iain Dick (71), Chase Mckeown (84), Adam Taylor (100), Chris Andrews (113), Jason Atkins (100), Grieg Mooney (194), Steffan Scutti (194), Alex Lunn (194), Karl Peters, Rarotongan Wild Card.