Play was due to begin at 9:05am local time, but the threat of lightning caused the loss of two hours play, and the accompanying heavy rain added another 60 minutes to the delay as greenkeepers cleared water from the course.
The hold-up meant there was no chance of most of the 78 players in the field completing their rounds before dark.
World number one Tiger Woods is making his first competitive appearance for over a month at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal, which is playing host to the European Tour's penultimate event of the season.
With more than US dollars 7,000,000 (£4.35million) in prize money on offer, the result could also go a long way to deciding who finishes the year as European number one, with English pair Ian Poulter and Justin Rose looking to overhaul current Race to Dubai leader Henrik Stenson ahead of the season- ending DP Tour World Championship next week.
The marquee group of Woods, Stenson and Rose were due to tee off last at 2:05pm, and were among those certain to be completing their rounds on Friday morning.
When play finally started at 12:05pm local time, it was England's Ross Fisher who was first to take advantage of the soft conditions.
The former Ryder Cup star kicked off with back-to-back birdies to set the early pace at two under par.
The news was not so good for Paul Lawrie, needing a decent showing this week to climb from 64th on the money list into the top 60 who will qualify for Dubai next week.
The former Open Champion missed birdie chances from inside five feet at the first and second to remain level par.