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Presidents Cup picture: As playoffs near, Tony Finau pads lead on Jordan Spieth for final auto spot

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Tony Finau has played three Cups as a professional, two Ryder and one Presidents. Having needed a captain’s pick each time, though, Finau is determined to earn his way automatically for the first time this year.

Finau’s victory Sunday at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, his second in as many weeks, puts him in position to do that, as the sixth-ranked player in the U.S. Presidents Cup standings padded his cushion on No. 7 Jordan Spieth. Finau is nearly 1,200 points clear of Spieth for the final automatic berth for the Sept. 22-25 matches at Quail Hollow.

"I have that goal every year to make these teams on points," Finau said. "I've been selected in the past. One of my goals is to make the Presidents Cup team by points. These last two weeks I think were huge in earning my spot. I think everybody earns their spot to a certain extent, but I truly want to earn my spot by earning enough points to just qualify for the team this year. I've got a couple more tournaments to kind of prove myself."

With three events left until the qualifying process ends following the BMW Championship, Finau has by no means clinched his automatic bid, but Spieth and others close behind in points, most of whom aren’t playing Wyndham this week, will need to do something special in the first two playoff events to pass Finau.

For every FedExCup point earned in the next few tournaments, players will receive three Presidents Cup points.

The top five players in U.S. points are Scottie Scheffler, Patrick Cantlay, Sam Burns, Xander Schauffele and Justin Thomas, all of whom are either guaranteed an automatic spot or are close to it. Collin Morikawa, Max Homa and Will Zalatoris round out the current top 10, and along with Spieth, they should all make captain Davis Love III’s 12-man squad in some way. So, too, should Cameron Young, who is in the driver’s seat for PGA Tour Rookie of the Year thanks to a Tour-best seven top-3 finishes and sits 12th in points.

No. 11 Billy Horschel, No. 13 Tom Hoge, No. 14 Kevin Kisner and No. 15 J.T. Poston are among the other names who could earn nods with strong playoff performances.

Love, like International captain Trevor Immelman, will announce his captain’s picks after the Tour Championship on Aug. 29. Love gets six while Immelman will have four.

The International standings have yet to update as of Monday morning, though Tom Kim figures to make a nice leap from No. 19 after finishing seventh in Detroit. Cameron Smith, Hideki Matsuyama, Sungjae Im, Joaquin Niemann, Corey Conners, Adam Scott, Mito Pereira and K.H. Lee are the current top 8, a solid group considering Immelman has seen potential team members Louis Oosthuizen and Abraham Ancer defect for LIV Golf.

On the U.S. side, four players from the 2019 American team – Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed – are no longer eligible for the Presidents Cup after deciding to join the Saudi-backed rival league.