Luke Donald hit the front at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City before day one was brought to a premature halt due to lightning.
The Englishman flew out of the traps with a birdie, eagle start and picked up further ground at eight and nine after an initial suspension in play of almost three hours.
Donald was two clear at five under through 11 holes when storms again forced the players off, with Jamie Donaldson and Thomas Bjorn sharing second.
The first round will now resume on Friday, with no player having completed more than 12 holes thus far and many still on the front nine.
Welshman Donaldson made three birdies in an outward 33 and has six holes still to play.
Bjorn needed only six holes to reach three under, while defending champion Martin Kaymer sits fourth on two under par, having followed an early eagle with a birdie and a bogey.
Race to Dubai winner Henrik Stenson is among eight players – including Sergio Garcia and Charl Schwartzel – tied fifth on one under.