The South African Open champion fired a four-under-par 68 to move to seven-under, just two shots behind clubhouse leader Francesco Molinari.
The Italian had extended his advantage to three strokes at one point as he maintained yesterday's fine form in the World Golf Championship event.
He eventually signed for a 70 to stand on nine-under but still had Lee Westwood, the new world No.?1, breathing down his neck - and also Ernie Els.
The South African made a significant move with a 65 to place alongside fellow South African Jaco Van Zyl and Ramsay, with England's Luke Donald just a shot behind that trio.
Molinari, leading Westwood by one stroke overnight, wasted no time in cementing his advantage at Sheshan International GC with birdies at the second, fourth and seventh, although a bogey-5 at the ninth pegged him back to nine-under par after 11 holes.
That's what he eventually finished on, with Westwood just one behind playing the last after he eventually got his round going after a sluggish start.
Tiger Woods, bidding to regain his world No.?1 spot from Westwood, had five bogeys in a 72 that put him on four-under, one ahead of Phil Mickelson as the defending champion played the last.
Meanwhile, Lothians ace Raymond Russell was sitting in a share of sixth place after the opening round of the Allianz Tour's Grand Final in Barbaroux, France.
The Prestonpans professional, who earned a return to the European Tour in last weekend's San Domenico Grand Final in Italy, fired a two-under par 70.
Russell, who leads the third-tier Allianz Tour's rankings and could earn a spot in next year's lucrative French Open if he holds on to the position, finished two shots behind joint leaders, Alex Kaleka, Alan Bihan and former British Amateur champion Julien Guerrier.
Perth's Gavin Dear, who earned promotion to the Challenge Tour a fortnight ago, opened with a 71 to share ninth.