Tiger Woods stands at even par through 12 holes.
The opening round was delayed for over two hours at the outset due to fog. None of the 78 players in the afternoon session were able to complete their rounds.
David Howell, the 1999 winner of this event, posted a 5-under-par 67 to take second place. Richard Green, who won here in a playoff in 1997, is one stroke further back at minus-4. Scott Drummond is tied with Green at 4 under, but he has played just 11 holes.
Ernie Els is among a large group at 2-under-par 70, while Robert-Jan Derksen, the defending champion, is 2 over par through 14 holes.
Dredge opened his round with back-to-back birdies from the par-3 12th, his third. He dropped in another birdie at the 16th at Emirates Golf Club and the Welshman capped a strong front side by sinking a 30-footer for eagle at the par-5 18th.
'Because the greens are so good around here it was almost like an easy putt,' said Dredge. 'If you hit a good putt, they are going to go in.'
Around the turn, Dredge once again dropped in back-to-back birdies from the second to move to 7 under. He then ran off five straight pars that included several two-putt pars.
The 30-year-old drained a birdie putt from over 25 feet out at the ninth to finish three shots clear of the field.
'I've worked on my game quite a bit since the end of last year and I always go on quite a long break over Christmas and New Year,' said Dredge, who won the Madeira Island Open last year. 'Then I go to South Africa and I get practicing quite a bit and come home. So South Africa is a little bit like a practice event and hopefully I can build a good start for here on.'
Woods got off to a slow start. He missed the first green long and right, but saved par. He then missed good birdie chances at the second and third, before draining a lengthy birdie try at the fourth.
After nearly holing a birdie chip at the fifth, the top player in the game kicked in his par save. Woods then two-putted for par three straight holes and closed out his first nine with a short birdie putt to head to the back side at minus-2.
Woods, who tied for second in 2001, faltered at the 10th. He lost his first drive well right, then pulled his provisional drive left. Woods ended with a double bogey-7 on the hole. He then parred the next two holes before play was halted.
Catch bonus coverage of Tiger's round on TGC at 8:30 PM ET
Howell got his round started with a birdie on No. 10, then drained back-to-back birdies from the 13th. He sank his fourth birdie of the day at the par-4 17th.
On the front side, Howell tripped up at the first with his lone bogey of the round. He came right back to birdie the following hole and took second place by himself with a birdie at the fourth.
Howell, who fine-tuned his swing recently, has larger goals in mind.
'I definitely feel I can make the Ryder Cup. Obviously, it all relies upon playing well and in previous years, I've been reasonably close' Howell said. 'If I played like I did last year, I would be a million miles away without winning, but I think I can do it. I want to play in Ryder Cups, but I just look at it quite simply, really. When I'm good enough to get in, I will.'
Marcus Fraser and Pierre Fulke lead a group of nine players finished at 3-under-par 69. They are joined there by Peter Baker, Johan Edfors, Soren Hansen, Thongchai Jaidee, Simon Khan, Peter Lawrie and Gary Orr.
Also at minus-3 are Paul Broadhurst and Padraig Harrington, who both have completed 14 holes. Simon Dyson (11 holes), Stephen Scahill (10 holes), Gregory Havret (nine holes) and Charl Schwartzel (nine holes) are also at 3 under.