Louis Oosthuizen is the pre-tournament favourite for the first event of the 2012 European Tour season at the East London Golf Club in South Africa for the Africa Open.

The South African is 5/1 with Ladbrokes to defend the title that he won here last year when he edged out England’s Chris Wood and Spain’s Manuel Quiros in a playoff.

Oosthuizen finished the 2011 season in fine form with five back-to-back top ten finishes and so is understandably the firm favourite to win this week.

I find it hard to look elsewhere for an outright winner purely on form but at a price of 5/1 he won’t appeal to everyone.

There are a number of other South Africans that have a good chance this week and I think Jaco Van Zyl at 14/1 could well take the title. He was tied for fourth here last year and showed solid form in the back end of 2011 with three top ten finishes in his last six events of the season.

Another that appeals is Thomas Aiken. He had an impressive 2011, winning his maiden European Tour title on the way to finishing 22nd in the Race to Dubai. Aiken will be confident going into the season’s curtain-raiser and is priced at 14/1 with Ladbrokes.

The other South African hopefuls in the field this week are Retief Goosen at 12/1, George Coetzee at 14/1 and Alfred Dunhill Championship winner, Garth Mulroy at 16/1.

2011 Challenge Tour winner, Tommy Fleetwood is at 50/1, while Q-School qualifiers Andy Sullivan and Sam Hutsby are priced at 125/1 and 150/1 respectively.

Africa Open betting guide and tips:

1pt win on Louis Oosthuizen @ 5/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each-way on Jaco Van Zyl @ 14/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each-way on Thomas Aiken @ 14/1 with Ladbrokes