The No 2, who will end 2018 back on top spot if he finishes higher than 12th in Jakarta, was five under through 14 holes when lightning led to a suspension of play.
American John Caitlin and Korea’s Lee Sung-ho were both in the clubhouse on six under having shot 66 in their opening rounds at the Asian Tour event. Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, who had also completed his round, was one of five players to card 67.
Rose, who had four birdies and an eagle on his card, will return on Friday morning along with 61 other players to play the remaining first round holes before the second round begins.
Caitlin, playing alongside Stenson, carded seven birdies while Lee overcame bogeys on the first and 10th by picking up shots on eight different holes.
Caitlin revealed afterwards he was inspired by his playing partners.
He said: “Henrik’s a really nice guy and I’ve known Anirban (Lahiri) for about four years. It was nice to play with them and to see good shots. When you see other guys making birdies, that kind of pushes you.
“Everyone was texting me and saying, ‘Oh you’re playing with Henrik,’ but for me, I was just more excited to watch good golf.”
Stenson, who is playing the event for the first time, said: “All in all I kept it fairly tidy and did not make too many mistakes. It is a good start.”
South African Oliver Bekker shot a six-under-par 66 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek.
Bekker carded six birdies against just one bogey as he edged ahead of Australian Dimitrios Papadatos on the edge of Kruger National Park.
Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin is third on the leaderboard on four under ahead of a group of nine players on three under which includes Scottish pair David Drysdale and Liam Johnston. South Africa’s Brandon Stone, who won the event last time it was held in 2016, is also on three under.
Bekker reached the turn in 33 before kicking on with a run of four successive birdies from the 11th.
Leeds’s Daniel Gavins birdied the ninth, his last, to post a two-over-par 74. Four bogeys in a row from the 15th, his sixth, had negated an earlier birdie on the 13th. Gavins is seeking to make a cut for the first time since winning back his Tour card at Qualifying School last month.
Scott Campbell (Hallowes) had two double bogeys and six bogeys in an 82.