Adam Scott fired a course record nine-under-par 63 to set the pace after first round play resumed at the Johnnie Walker Classic in Beijing on Friday.
The Australian was three-under after 10 holes when heavy gusts halted play on Thursday and he continued in the same vein to equal the tournament's best round, despite having to wake up before dawn.
"I was up bloody early -- 4.30. I'm going back to bed now," Scott said. "I played great yesterday and this morning I kept swinging in the same rhythm."
The world number nine resumed with successive birdies and finished birdie-eagle-birdie, chipping in at the last to leave himself four strokes clear of playing partner Sergio Garcia.
Thailand's Chawalit Plaphol produced a fine round of 66 to finish the first round second behind Scott in Beijing.
"Sergio and I played really well," Scott added. "I just hit a couple of shots close and that was the difference."
Garcia boosted his overnight score of one-under-par to five-under but the Spaniard predicted a flurry of low scores in the afternoon as weather conditions continued to improve.
"With the weather we have now, there is going to be some really low scoring," he said. "It was nice to get it going a little bit and post a decent number."
Australian Adam Fraser and Taiwan's Chen Yuan-chi also produced rounds of 67 to tie Garcia for third after the first round.
US Open champion Retief Goosen was among a group of nine players on 68 at Beijing's Pine Valley course, including Briton Colin Montgomerie.
World number three and two-times Johnnie Walker Classic winner Ernie Els made up two strokes overnight to end the first round at one-under.
Britain's Luke Donald, who finished tied third at the US Masters, settled for a 73 after struggling on Thursday.
The $2.3 million event is jointly sanctioned by the European, Asian and Australasian tours.