Hall of Fame honour 'cool'
Singapore - Phil Mickelson's joy at entering golf's Hall of Fame was tempered on Thursday by a level-par 71 which left him nine shots off the Singapore Open's first-round lead.
Mickelson, lobster-red from sizzling conditions on Sentosa island, said it was "pretty neat" to be named alongside the sport's greats which will take place at a special ceremony later.
"That'll be fun. It's cool. Yeah, it's cool. It's pretty neat to see the names that are in there, to be a part of that. That's a pretty cool honour," said the four-time major-winner.
But Mickelson, 41, was perplexed by his patchy form following a six-week break, during which time he dropped out of the world top 10 for the first time in seven years.
The American hit four birdies alongside two bogeys and a double-bogey on the par-four 11th on the Tanjong course, considered the easier of the Singapore Open's dual lay-outs.
"The course was in great shape but I didn't play the best," said Mickelson, currently ranked 11th.
"I didn't feel like I'm playing bad. I didn't feel like I played bad shots other than one drive on 11. And I didn't feel like I putted poorly, I hit my putts on my lines," he added.
"So I don't know if I have a real purpose other than try to shoot a lower round and maybe play the Serapong course maybe a bit more strategic, a bit better."
Edoardo Molinari, of Italy, and England's James Morrison were the early clubhouse leaders after shooting scores of 62 - nine-under-par.
Mickelson will become the seventh inductee this year into the Florida-based Hall of Fame, which has more than 130 members including Ben Hogan, Ernie Els and Seve Ballesteros.