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Phil Mickelson hopes to be captain’s pick for Presidents Cup

Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Phil Mickelson, eyeing this tee shot on No. 4, is also eyeing the Presidents Cup team.

By Globe Staff 

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NORTON — Next stop Lake Forest, where the top 70 remaining competitors will play in stage three of the FedExCup playoffs. For Phil Mickelson, though happy to be moving with the moveable feast, his focus remains on being named to the Presidents Cup team.

Mickelson shot 68 on Monday for a four-round total of 11 under and a tie for sixth at the Dell Technologies Championship, a showing perhaps worthy of a captain’s pick.

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“The core nucleus of the team, the guys that are going to be the critical guys to perform and ultimately win — well, they are the guys that make it on points,” said Mickelson, hoping to be named to the United States squad by captain Steve Stricker.

The Presidents Cup, which pits the US against an International (non-European) squad, will be played at the end of the month at Liberty National in Jersey City. The US won the 2015 Presidents Cup.

“You’re looking at Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler,” added the 47-year-old Mickelson. “Those are the guys that have all performed and those are the guys that have to play well for the US to win.”

Kevin Chappell was the last player to automatically qualify for the team (by a fraction of a point).

Can’t finish job

Harold Varner III, who was 4 over par after 54 holes, was on fire early with seven birdies through his first 10 holes, but his return nine fell apart when he bogeyed 14, 15 and 16 to finish of 4 under.

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“I looked up and I was 7 under, tied for 20-something, and I knew I just had to be in the top 20,” said a disappointed Varner. “And I choked . . . well, I didn’t choke . . . I just didn’t do a good job of finishing. Just a tough back nine.”

Varner, who did not qualify for the next round of the playoffs, will take two or three weeks off before heading to play a tournament or two overseas.

“I was really just fighting for my job a few weeks ago,” said Varner, who needed a strong close just to make into the first FedExCup playoff round, last week at Northern Trust.

Despite packing his bag for the season, Varner, 27, was all smiles.

“One day, I’m not going to be able to do what I’m doing right now,” he said. “I mean, I could be doing my dad’s job — he’s been selling cars for 40 years. I’d rather play golf for 40 years. I’ve got some good people around me to help keep it in perspective, and I’m just going to have fun — that’s golf.”

Self-deprecating and engaging, Varner, encouraged he’s “trending,” said, “It just [stinks] that I don’t have anywhere to trend.”

Rory McIroy, who won here last year, failed to make the cut. By Varner’s eye, “Wee Mac” didn’t look happy during his two days at TPC Boston.

“When you get to that stage, when it’s not fun,” he added, “I wouldn’t be out there. It just makes it hard when it’s not fun.’’

Pristine weather

Contrary to Sunday’s rain and accompanying chill, closing day was torn from Rockwell’s Scenes of New England. The leadoff hitters on Sunday, teeing off at 11 a.m., were greeted with a temp of 57 degrees. Twenty-four hours later, the temp stood at 71, with blue sky and very light wind . . . No word from Jay Monahan, the PGA Tour commissioner, about the future of the big boys returning here after 2018. With the PGA dedicated to reordering its tournament menu in 2019, speculation continues that Boston could fall out of the rotation. A Globe reporter’s request to discuss the subject with Monahan remained unanswered by the former Belmont resident.n it


Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at kevin.dupont@globe.com
Follow him on Twitter @GlobeKPD.