The round was suspended due to darkness and will resume at 7:15 a.m. (ET), with the second round getting underway as scheduled at 7:30 a.m.
Michael Harris and Chris Wisler share second place at 4-under-par 68.
Derek Gillespie and Craig Kanada lead a group of 14 players tied at 3-under-par 69. They are joined there by Robert Hamilton, Jason Higton, Chris Locker, Jeremy Luce, Steve Marino, Rob McMillan, Brian Nosler, Chris Parra, Mayson Petty, Steve Scott, Dirk Ayers and Erik Compton.
Kovacs was spurred on by a chip-in birdie at the par-5 13th at Stoney Creek Course at Wintergreen to help him grab the lead.
'That was one of those shots that just kind of set the stage for the day,' said Kovacs, who battled a stomach virus during his round. 'I didn't feel well at all, but the golf game felt good. It's been an up-and-down season this year, but it's going in the right direction. It's great to get in a solid round here early on, but there's still a lot of golf to be played.'
Harris is playing his first event this year. In 2003, he garnered five top-10 showings and has a little extra incentive this week as his only missed cut last season came at this event.
'I've got a little score to settle with this course,' Harris said. 'They've got the rough up again, so you really have to think your way around. I hit some good shots today, but there is a long way to go. I want to get my revenge for last year and it should be a lot of fun.'
Mario Tiziani and Matt Weibring are among 16 players tied at 2-under-par 70, while there are 18 more players a stroke behind them.