It was a case of third time lucky for American Mark Wilson when he booked his long-awaited debut at the U.S. Masters with a two-shot victory at the Sony Open on Sunday. 

Although Wilson had triumphed twice before on the PGA Tour, neither of those successes had earned him a cherished spot at Augusta National in the first of the year's four majors.

Masters organisers did not automatically invite all Tour winners when he made his breakthrough at the 2007 Honda Classic while his follow-up came at the 2009 Mayakoba Golf Classic, an opposite-field event to the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

Believe me, I looked at the fine print on that one and made sure, Wilson, 36, told reporters after hearing he had finally secured his place at the Masters.

I thought it was a calendar year when they first announced it (for Tour winners) and I was really excited (in 2007), but no, it was from Masters to Masters so I didn't get in.

Then I won Mayakoba and all my friends thought I was in but opposite events (to the WGC) don't get you in. Everyone keeps asking: 'How can you get in, how can you get in?' I'm thrilled to put that on the schedule now.

Wilson, who produced bogey-free golf on a marathon final day featuring 36 holes at Waialae Country Club, said he had been to Augusta National several times as a spectator -- but not since 2001.

I didn't want to go back until I was playing in the tournament, he added after shooting a three-under-par 67 in the final round of the rain-delayed Sony Open.

I'm anxious to play, but maybe a little scared about the length from what I've heard. Some of the shorter hitters talk about how it's kind of eliminated them from the field.

I get goose bumps just thinking about it to be honest with you. Part of me feels like I don't belong, so I'm going to have to get over that hurdle and be ready to play that week.

MASTERS ELITE

Asked why he felt he did not fully belong among the elite players at Augusta National, Wilson replied: It's going to be a new experience and I've never made the cut in a major.

I feel like that's the next step for me... playing well in majors and the next step after that is being part of the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teams. I'm ready to make that step, and this is a good start to it.

Wilson earned $990,000 for clinching his third PGA Tour title, a moment made even sweeter for him when his wife Amy ran out to embrace him on the 18th green.

It's the first time my wife has been with me for a win, Wilson said after holding off late birdie runs by fellow American Steve Marino and South Africa's Tim Clark in the final round.

So it was neat to see her run on the green on the last hole. This is one of my favorite courses of the year. You've got to hit it straight... and I'm just thrilled to be the champion.