Woodbridge needed to medal in Rome but still enhanced his hopes of London 2012 selection by improving his world ranking position.
Russia's Aleksander Lesun and Andrei Moiseev took gold and silver while Korea's Jung Jinhwa completed the podium.
Woodbridge went into the decisive run/shoot ranked fifth but despite a solid performance on the range was still overhauled.
World junior champion Jamie Cooke, who achieved the qualifying standard at last year's European Championships, endured a difficult afternoon finishing a distant 33rd.
“Nick demonstrated a high international standard again but there is still room for improvement," said Great Britain's performance director Jan Bartu.
"If he had fenced throughout the way he started, he probably would have been in the medal zone.
“The pressure got to Jamie a bit in the fencing but it will have been a good learning experience for him.
"We need to remember that he is still only 21. He is a young athlete with great talent and a lot of potential who is trying to grow into a world-class competitor.”
The World Championships were the final Olympic qualification event and British athletes had to medal to achieve the standard.
Thereafter the only other opportunity to qualify for the Games is through the ranking list and the final competition that will count towards those sums is the World Cup final later this month.
Woodbridge is comfortably the top-ranked British pentathlete and his experience of Beijing and his bronze medal at last year's World Cup final, which doubled as the Olympic test event, should be enough to book his place.
But with two picks at their disposal, selectors now appear to have a straight choice between the promising Cooke and Sam Weale - but the Beijing Olympian failed to even make the final in Rome.