Michele Redman and Kristi Albers share third at minus three while Angela Stanford, Kathryn Marshall and Dina Ammaccapane are a shot back at 2-under 142.
Hurst opened with a birdie at the second when she wedged her third shot to three feet. She dropped a stroke at four when she knocked her 6-iron tee shot into a bunker and failed to get up and down.
Things did not get better for Hurst at the next hole. She drove right off the tee and then missed a 5-iron short of the green. Hurst chipped to 30 feet where she three-putted for a double-bogey.
Hurst two-putted from 25 feet at the par-5 6th for birdie but three-putted from the same distance at the next to drop a shot. She birdied the ninth with a 12-foot putt.
Hurst caught fire on the back nine with six birdies and no bogeys to distance herself from the field. She drained a 25-footer at No. 10 and followed up with seven-footer at No. 11.
At the 14th, Hurst played a 9-iron to three feet for her first of four birdies in a row. She closed with a 25-footer at No. 17 for her 67.
'You know, I feel very relaxed out there,' said Hurst, who tied for second in this tournament last year. 'I'm actually hitting my irons extremely well, and my wedges pretty good as well.'
With Neumann trailing by three and the rest of the players at least four behind, Hurst said that she will treat tomorrow like a match-play situation:
'In stroke play, you can lose two shots in one hole, that's different than match play. I don't think you can play with that mentality until the end when there's a couple of holes left.'
Neumann birdied three of her first four holes, with all of the putts coming from greater than 10 feet. She finished her round with three birdies and two bogeys for a 5-under 67.
'I think getting off to a good start is the key,' said Neumann. 'I will need to put pressure on Pat, and I know she is really good off the tee.'
Luciana Bemvenuti is alone in eighth at minus one.
Annika Sorenstam, who can tie the LPGA Tour record for most consecutive wins with four, is in trouble. She carded a 1-over 71 and is 10 back at even-par 144.
'I need a miracle,' said Sorenstam, who is looking to join Kathy Whitworth and Mickey Wright as the only LPGA players to win four consecutive tournaments they started.
A total of 78 players survived the 36-hole cut which fell at 5-over 149.
Full-field scores from The Office Depot