Middletown — The first girl Ashley Zambito ever met on the golf course was Kaitlin Sabbagh.

Middletown — The first girl Ashley Zambito ever met on the golf course was Kaitlin Sabbagh.

They've become good friends since the two began playing together when Zambito was around 7 and Sabbagh was 9.

They are so tight that they even cheer for one another when they're playing in the same group, matching strokes for the Section 9 girls' championship.

"We're not the stab-in-the-back type," said Sabbagh, who will play at Division II Belmont (N.C.) Abbey in the fall. "We're comfortable playing and rooting for each other."

Here's proof: "Stop," Zambito said, trying to make Sabbagh's second shot from the bunker slow down on the par-3, 16th hole at Orange County Golf Club yesterday.

Sabbagh's shot didn't listen. Four putts later, the Goshen senior made a triple-bogey 6.

Zambito, a Newburgh Free Academy sophomore, made par and took a five-stroke lead on her way to a third section title.

The two both carded a 6-over 43 on the front nine.

"I was really nervous on the front nine," said Zambito, who shot a 13-over 86 and finished three strokes ahead of Monticello senior Alexis Brinkerhoff and five ahead of Sabbagh. "It was really competitive. ... I felt bad (for her after the 16th hole) because I wanted it to keep going."

Shortly after the round, Zambito and Sabbagh weren't talking about missed putts or selecting the wrong club on approach shots.

Upcoming proms were the hot topic. Sabbagh and Warwick senior Stephanie Savoia were showing Zambito their dresses on their cell phones.

"Kaitlin's changed her mind like five times on a dress," Zambito said.

Zambito's prom is June 8, the day before the state championships at Foxfire Golf Course in Baldwinsville. Zambito will skip the after-parties. She'll probably get some practice in before she puts on her dress.

Zambito managed to play at least nine holes or hit the driving range in between picnics and Sweet 16 parties last weekend.

"I haven't been playing the best lately," Zambito said. "I could have easily broke 80 today. ... I wanna place in the top seven" in the state.

Why the top seven?

"I know that I can do better than the top 10," Zambito said. "The top five might be pushing it." Sabbagh, who will be making her fourth state tournament appearance, will be right there. The two can share a few laughs, talk fashion or match strokes once again.