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Woodland boosts Presidents Cup stock with T-3 finish at CJ Cup

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In recent conversations with Gary Woodland about the Presidents Cup, Tiger Woods has made one thing clear.

“He wants the guys out playing and he wants guys playing well,” Woodland said earlier this week in South Korea. “Unfortunately, I didn't secure my own spot, so I've got to rely on a pick. … I have two weeks left to go out and prove that my game's in a good enough spot that I deserve a pick.”

So far, so good.

Woodland, who was not among the eight automatic selections for Woods’ U.S. team, closed in 6-under 66 Sunday at the CJ Cup to tie for third, his first top-10 since winning the U.S. Open in June.

“I just started playing better, really on Friday,” said Woodland, who shot 13 under on the weekend at Nine Bridges. “Thursday was a rough day, scored all right (71), and then started progressively getting better on the weekend. It's been a while.”

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Woodland won’t play in the WGC-HSBC Champions, the last event before the picks are made, in two weeks, but he will tee it up at next week’s Zozo Championship. Joining Woodland in Japan will be other potential picks Tony Finau, Patrick Reed, Kevin Na, Jordan Spieth and Woods.

Of that short list, Spieth and Na played in South Korea, tying for eighth and 20th, respectively.

Rickie Fowler, considered by some to be a lock for a pick, hasn’t played since the Tour Championship as he recently got married, though he is expected to return for Shanghai.

Phil Mickelson likely needs a win in Shanghai to make the team. He shared 31st at the CJ Cup and won’t play the Zozo.