Coach Neil Manchip put one over on pupil Shane Lowry when he outscored the European Tour star by three shots in the opening round of the Irish PGA.

The Scot, 37, usually ends up on the wrong end of a battle of wits when it comes to who’s longer off the tee.

But the 1999 Irish PGA champion had the last laugh at Seapoint yesterday as he hit seven birdies in superb five under 67 as Lowry was forced to birdie three of his last five holes for a 70.

Manchip was the story of the day as he showed top student Lowry that he can still play a bit as he finished one adrift of big-hitting Belfast man Damian Mooney, who cracked seven birdies and carded an incredible nine threes in a six under 66.

Manchip said: “My iron play and putting was excellent today. Normally Shane shows me the way - and gives me a good slagging for my lack of distance.”

Manchip has lived in Ireland since 1991, starting as an assistant at Royal County Down before moving to Royal Dublin.

He took over as National Coach to the Golfing Union of Ireland five years ago, helping players like Lowry and Rory McIlroy win a host of individual titles as well as two European Team Championships.

He said: “Winning this title in ’99 was the highlight of my playing career but as a coach, watching Shane win the Irish Open last year and those wins by Ireland in the European Amateur Team Championships are right up there.”

Lowry couldn’t resist a crack at his coach at the finish, who took advantage of a rain-softened course where the tees at the tough par-four fifth and 13th holes were pushed up.

Grinning, Lowry said: “It played into your hands today with a few nice forward tees there.”

But he added: “Obviously Neil can play. To be honest, I couldn’t believe it when I saw him at 66-1 in the betting.”

Former British Amateur champion Brian McElhinney and six-time winner Des Smyth are tied for third after 69s with Lowry in a seven-way tie for fifth place on two under.

Pre-tournament favourite Damien McGrane battled back from three over par after four holes to grind out a one under par 71.

Six-time winner Smyth, 57, had five birdies and a pair of three-putt bogeys in his 69.

But he took his hat off to playing partner Mooney, who racked up NINE threes in a sizzling 66 that featured seven birdies in a nine hole stretch in the middle of his round.

Smyth said: “I’m happy with my day’s work. But Damian played great. He was brilliant. He’s a power hitter.”

Starting on the back nine, Mooney birdied the 16th and 18th before starting home with five threes in a row as he followed a birdie at the first with four in a row from the third.

Despite a bogey at the seventh, Mooney said: “I can attribute it all to Johnny Foster at Greenacres, who has been coaching me for the last two months. He’s the best I’ve seen

“I’m delighted with that start but there are still three rounds to go.” PGA Irish Championship, Seapoint GC (Par 72)

Round One:

66 D Mooney (Unattached).

67 N Manchip (GUI National Academy)

69 B McElhinney (Team Ireland), D Smyth (Unattached).

70 M O’Sullivan (Ashbourne), E McLoughlin (Wicklow), S Lowry (Esker Hills), P Devine (Royal Dublin), B Trainor (Team Ireland), D Mortimer (Fore Ireland), G Cullen (Beaverstown)

71 C McNamara (Limerick), R Creamer (Tuam), E Brady (Clontarf), R Giles (Greenore), D McWilliams (Unattached), D McGrane (Unattached), G Dunlea (Adare Manor), M McDermott (Pure Golf Leopardstown), K Fahey (GUI National Academy), B McGovern (Headfort), D Higgins (Waterville).

72 S Clinton (Portsalon), M Mulryan (Athenry), J Bolger (Kilkenny), C Mallon (Narin & Portnoo), M Staunton (Fore Ireland), G Robinson (St Helen’s Bay).

73 R Devlin (Balbriggan), C Carroll (Bray), J Dignam (Slade Valley), D Ryan (Cahir Pk), P Walton (Fore Ireland), J Kelly (St Margaret’s), D Bell (Kelly’s Golf Centre), R Doran (Royal Co Down).

74 L Bowler (Wexford), M McTernan (Co Sligo), M Allan (Pure Golf Leopardstown), J Gibson (Killymoon), K Grealy (Athlone), L Walker (Dundalk), L Harrington (Limerick), D Walker (Foxrock), E Martin (Beaverstown), D McNamara (Portmarncok), P Geraghty (Unattached), B Kerley (Greenlife), P Hanna (Lurgan), N Howley (Balbriggan).

75 JP Dolan (Dunfanaghy), K Dorrian (Scrabo), G Wardlow (Edenderry), G Lunny (Naas), D Gleeson (Old Conna), C Moriarty (Donaghadee), J Quinlivan (Unattached), M Heinemann (Skellig Bay), J Glynn (Dun Laoghaire), J Dwyer (Ashbourne).

76 G Loughrey (Roganstown), C Jelly (Dungannon), G Byrne (Nuremore), P Martin (Riverside Academy), M Twitchett (Hilton), B McDermott (Castlecomer), E Logue (Hilton), P McClelland (Unattached), W O’Callaghan (, C Porter (East Cork), J Murray (Malahide), P Stevenson (Portadown), P Jones (Coollattin), M O’Shea (Callan), M Flanagan (Mt Temple).

77 P Dooley (Cork), R Danagher (Ardee), S Galvin (The Curragh), P Masterson (Coollattin), P McGuirk (Co Louth), R Whitford (Knock).

78 M McGivern (Belvoir Pk), G Massey (PGA National), D Carroll (Seapoint), M Collins (Fore Ireland), P McDonald (Westmanstown), L Boyud (Donaghadee), J Scullion (Royal Co Down), L Boyd (Donaghadee), Joe Murray (Hollystown), T Higgins (Fore Ireland), BR Sherwood (Castlemartyr).

79 P McGonagle (Greenore), W Noble (Co Cavan), O Groggan (Unattached), D Walsh (Wexford), P Vaughan (Ardglass), P Collins (Galgorm Castle).

80 G Egan (Naas DR), D Hayes (Dungarvan), David Mooney (Carr Golf Services), P Hannan (Co Meath).

81 G McShea (Edmonstown), S Fitzpatrick (Enniscorthy), P Hickey (Cork), D Hughes (Unattached), P McCarroll (Massereene), D McQuillan (Castlebar).

82 B Cosgrove (Athy DR), M Kavanagh (Stackstown), J Greenaway (Banbridge).

83 P McGrath (P&M Superstore), B Quigley (Carton House).

84 T Rice (Unattached), B O’Boyle (Killarney), P McCanny (Birr Golf Shop & DR), S Wilson (Royal Tara).

89 F Lacey (Newlands).

Rtd R McCormick (Holywood), L Hynes (Ballinstoe).