In 2011, Rickie Fowler roamed the sidelines at Boone Pickens Stadium minutes before the Arizona Wildcats and Oklahoma State played a Thursday primetime football game.

Decked out in orange and black, Fowler posed for pictures with Wilbur T. Wildcat and cheered on his alma mater as the Cowboys rolled Arizona 37-14.

Today at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at Dove Mountain, Fowler will be the enemy again. The 25-year-old will take on former Arizona Wildcat Jim Furyk in the quarterfinals.

The two will tee off at 10:20 a.m.

“He’s a bulldog,” Fowler said of Furyk. “It won’t be easy, and he’ll have a lot of fans in his corner. Hopefully it’ll be 50-50.”

Fowler posted a 1 up victory over Sergio Garcia in improbable fashion Friday to get to today’s quarterfinals.

Garcia charged out to a 2 up lead through six holes and was sitting pretty on the par-4 seventh. Fowler was 17 feet 7 inches away from the hole, and Garcia was just 7 feet away.

As Fowler was lining up his putt and preparing to putt, Garcia interrupted.

“He said, ‘Do you want to halve it?’ ” Fowler said. “And I was like ‘what?’ He repeated it again, and I still didn’t get it, and finally he was like, ‘Do you want to halve the hole?’ I was like ‘OK.’

“Obviously it’s not something you see every day. He was 10 feet closer than me in good shape, but I wasn’t going to say no.”

Garcia’s explanation for the move went back a hole.

On the par-3 sixth hole, Garcia’s ball landed on a sprinkler head to the right of the hole. When he went to play the shot, a small swarm of bees surrounded his ball. He waited several minutes for the bees to clear before taking a drop. He had to take a second drop when the bees didn’t vanish and finally finished the hole after a several-minute delay.

After the hole, he felt bad about the delay, prompting his decision to halve No. 7 with Fowler.

A nice, but not-so-smart decision by the Spaniard.

“I had some bad experiences with bees as a youngster,” Garcia said. “I felt quite uncomfortable hitting the shot.”

He continued: “I don’t regret it at all. This is a gentleman’s game, and lately it hasn’t felt like it’s been like that. This is the way I was brought up by my dad playing golf.”

Garcia has been in the center of a couple of different controversies in the last year. He said Friday was a chance to change public opinion of him.

In May at the Players Championship, Garcia accused Tiger Woods of moving during Garcia’s backswing and causing a commotion in the gallery. And then just last month, while he was playing a tournament in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, a television viewer called in a potential Garcia rules violation that turned out to be nothing.

“I hope this maybe changes the perception a bit,” Garcia said.

It might succeed, but it helped end his stay on Dove Mountain.

Garcia actually birdied the

next hole to take a three-shot lead, but then saw Fowler win four of the final 10 holes to win the match.

He ended it with an exclamation mark on No. 18. He blasted a drive 355 yards, leaving just 94 yards to the pin. He then left his second shot just 4 feet from the hole and knocked it in for birdie after Garcia missed his 18-foot birdie putt.

“It feels really good to make it to the weekend,” said Fowler, who has missed the cut in his last three events. “Obviously I haven’t been playing well at all lately, and it feels good to kinda get back on track. My putting and short game has been the key I think, and hopefully I keep it going. I’m having a lot of fun out there.”

In Furyk, today’s opponent, Fowler faces a former teammate. The two were on the same squad in 2010 at the Ryder Cup and halved a match against Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer.

There, Furyk saved Fowler with a wedge shot on 18 that landed just 4 feet from the hole. Fowler knocked in a birdie putt to halve the match after Fowler made a pair of costly mistakes on the front nine.

Furyk advanced to today’s quarters with a 1 up win over Harris English. The two were all squared through 15, but Furyk holed a chip on the par-3 16th from 30 feet to take a one-hole lead. After the two birdied No. 17, Furyk held English off with par on No. 18 to win the match.

“Rickie and I are friends,” Furyk said. “When we paired up together, I saw a real fearless guy. Not a lot bothers him. He was a great partner there, and he’ll be a tough match tomorrow.

“There’s no easy matches tomorrow.”

Saturday's tee times

Saturday's tee times for Match Play quarterfinals

Tee time Player (seed) Player (seed)
10:05 a.m. Louis Ooshtuizen (32) Jason Day (8)
10:20 a.m. Jim Furyk (20) Rickie Fowler (53)
11:45 a.m. Ernie Els (31) Jordan Spieth (10)
Noon Graeme McDowell (14) Victor Dubuisson (27)

Contact reporter Daniel Berk at 573-4330 or dberk@azstarnet.com. On Twitter @DSBerk.